Earlier this week, Buffalo police moved in on Kareem Howard, 23, and arrested him for running a gun ring that imported handguns from Georgia. Last Friday federal prosecutors filed a series of gang related indictments stemming from murders in 2009. Yet troubles persist. Enforcement is up, but violence is rising.
"Our shootings here in Western New York are way up over this time last year," says U.S. Attorney William Hochul (pictured L, in studio with John & Susan Friday morning.) "By my count, we've had over 48 more shooting victims in 2012 than we had in the same time in 2011."
And things have become so bad that a former gang member who has fought against violence on the East side of Buffalo tells WBEN that even he can't live there anymore.
What's going on? Buffalo's Early News and WBEN.com took a look Friday:
Buffalo's Early News In Depth;
Exclusive WBEN Interviews
with John Zach & Susan Rose
In Studio: US Atty. William Hochul
More Hochul with Zach & Rose
Hochul On Anti Gang Tactics
US Attorney on Retribution Fears
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown
Frustrated by the fight, like so many before him, Darnell Jackson has fled the violence and is calling out for a broader plan.
The former gang member has praise for police - "they are doing everything they can," he says - but ill health, threats of retribution for his continued anti-gang efforts, and frustration over the lack of a broad solution to growing gang violence has made it so even he can't sleep anymore on Buffalo's East side.
"The reason I'm leaving is I'm tired of fighting police, I'm tired of fighting government and I'm tired of fighting the community," Jackson says, adding that threats against also played a role in his decision.
The Inner City "Don't Ask, Don't Tell?"
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Reverend Kinzer Pointer says he doesn't understand why no one has spoken up about what they saw a few weeks ago when five people were shot, one of them killed at MLK Park.
"Unless everyone who was there was visually impaired, it doesn't make sense," says Pointer.
Pointer says "the fear is legitimate, but at some point, you can't be cowered by fear and part of getting there is helping to put an end to such circumstances."
He says there's a counterculture of values among young people that he doesn't understand.
Pointer believes they operate under a different set of values and lack the character to do the right thing, which is why shootings happen in the first place.
Jackson has moved to the city's Black Rock/Riverside area, and will continue to use his old home as a location for a job training program, of the kind that he says should be embraced. And as part of that bigger approach, he says judges need to take a harsher stand on gun violence, denying bail automatically for gun crimes.
"I know some dudes that are out on two, three bails for gun charges. That's ludicrous. What do they do, let them out to kill someone else? That's the kind of stuff I'm fighting against and it's like hitting a wall, between a rock and a hard place," Jackson says.
He's bitter that the area's black churches and government aren't playing a part in new job training programs especially after private foundation funding for one he sponsored dried up.
"We can go overseas and start wars, and we can't stop this stuff from coming into our community," he says.
Jackson says hiring youth to clean neighborhoods will give them the motivation and the money to avoid gangs.
"Right now we need to put these kids off the streets. So give them jobs . Pay them $8, $10 an hour and they are going to work. And I tell you 8 out of ten are going to work. And the ones hanging out on the streets are going to stand out like a sore thumb," he says.