Thursday, January 17, 2013

Growing Public Safety Concerns in the Burgh - We need more COPS!

As a resident of Troy and a neighborhood watch leader in Lansingburgh I am beyond concerned with the surge of petty street level crimes that continue to spread throughout the city, especially in Lansingburgh. While the occasional high profile mugging, shooting, robbery, stabbing, and arson dominate the headlines, it is the street level larcenies, burglaries, and criminal mischief that continue to cause the most grief for residents.

During the month of December there were 25 larcenies from vehicles, 7 burglaries, and numerous other infractions in Lansingburgh alone.  It seems that on a daily basis we are learning of yet another incident. These are becoming too overwhelming. Residents should not have to worry about whether or not their home or vehicle will be intact when they wake up in the morning. Just today, January 17, I learned that there have been 11 REPORTED larcenies to vehicles in Lanaingburgh.

What we need are more cops on our streets. A more visible presence is necessary. The patrol officers that are currently enforcing public safety are not enough. Patrol officers spend the majority of their shifts bouncing from call to call in policing zones that stretch for miles. 

In Troy there are currently 4 policing zones. Each zone is assigned two patrol cars (one officer in each). Let’s be honest having just two patrol cars in Lansingburgh's zone 4, which stretches from Hoosick Street north to the city line, is not feasible anymore. The policing zones need to be expanded and more patrol officers need to be added to each shift. Back filling “busy” shifts with officers on overtime is not a prudent use of taxpayer dollars. Reorganizing the cities policing zones adding one or maybe two more would allow for more patrol officers to move about our neighborhoods more often without the added overtime expense.

Seeing more marked patrols within our communities is just one necessity to deter criminalistic acts. The Street Crimes Unit or something similar needs to be reinstated - unmarked, plain clothed officers patrolling the streets on a regular basis. The street level petty crime that is growing in the city can only be addressed by undercover aggressive details. These crimes happen in a flash and marked patrols are not too effective on sneaking up on them while in progress. This tactic worked in the past why not again?

If anyone has been paying attention to the crimes that are happening throughout Troy you will realize they are very aggressive in nature. For those who make the argument that aggressive policing isnt the answer than you need to wake up and smell the coffee. Passive policing tactics as those implemented by City Hall are laughed at by the criminals and this is demonstrated by there continuation of their acts.

Let's remember that the winter season is the "quiet time" for crime, if the current trend continues, unchecked, we are in for a hair raising spring/summer.

Understanding the current crime situation in Troy leads one to ask why hasn’t these or similar tactics already been implemented? I’m sure someone knows the answer. That’s why recently when the Democrats on the City Council voted to add a Police Commissioner for $30,000 it puzzled me. Why would a newly created position that has NO bearing on actually increasing public safety be implemented instead of finding ways to put more cops on the street? Why not invest in cops or in initiatives to address these quality-of-life crimes? In 2012, the police chief introduced a program to reduce the number of larcenies from vehicles. This program is already being utilized in several Upstate NY communities, including Buffalo and Rochester, and has significantly reduced these types of crimes by over 40%. Instead of supporting the chief the Democrats City Council shot down the proposal.

Residents are searching for answers – and this city government is not providing them. More specifically in Lansingburgh we have no advocate, other than ourselves and we are left to fend and seek our own solutions. These crimes are happening in sections of Lansingburgh that would never see a stitch of crime in the past. We need to reverse the trend of losing Lansingburgh block-by-block.

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