When shootings rose throughout the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, Buffalo, New York, was no exception; the city saw a 43 percent increase in homicides between 2019 and 2021, most of which were committed with firearms. When violence finally began subsiding around the country a year later, Buffalo had become an outlier: There was an astounding 46 percent drop in killings between 2022 and 2023, returning to a level not seen since 2011.

No single initiative was responsible for this “unheard of” decrease in homicide, violence interrupter James Giles told The Trace’s Chip Brownlee. Instead, a tapestry of grassroots nonprofits, state-funded and city social services organizations, and law enforcement worked together to stop violence. Giles’s group, the Peacemakers, is part of this network: Its members help ensure safe travel for students to and from school, mediates conflicts on the street, and mentors young people.

Still, there are many root causes of violence in Buffalo that have to be addressed. “There are a lot of cultural dynamics contributing, but at the center of it is lack of economic opportunity,” Giles said. There are also more immediate issues regarding the city’s violence, such as its lack of an office to coordinate a city-wide approach to preventing gun violence, and an insufficient amount of funding to carry out this kind of work.

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What to Know Today

Colorado State Representative Don Wilson, a Republican, left a loaded 9mm Glock handgun in a State Capitol bathroom stall last week. The pistol was unattended for about 20 minutes before it was found by the janitorial staff. State Police eventually returned Wilson’s gun and said that he didn’t violate any laws. His colleagues across the aisle are now pursuing legislation that would ban guns in the Capitol. [NBC]

On Monday, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office launched a Prolific Gun Offenders Unit. It will prosecute offenses related to ghost guns, straw purchasers, and illegal possession, in addition to seeking the revocation of low cash bail rulings “for those who pose a danger to the community.” [NBC Philadelphia]

Dexter Reed, 26, was shot and killed by Chicago police during a traffic stop this March. His killing sprang from a larger strategy of conducting traffic stops in mostly-Black neighborhoods in search of weapons and guns, which some have called “the new stop and frisk.” Chicago police have made millions of stops since 2015, and they have resulted in a gun arrest less than 1 percent of the time. [Bolts]

Colorado’s Democrat-controlled House passed a bill this Sunday to ban the sale and transfer of assault-style rifles. It’s the first time a bill of this kind has advanced this far in the state’s General Assembly, and it’s expected to face more resistance in the State Senate. [Colorado Public Radio]

Data Point

154 — the average number of traffic stops made per day in Chicago’s 11th Police District, where Dexter Reed was shot and killed. [Bolts]