Schenectady County

More police hit Schenectady’s streets

Increased police presence in troubled areas could help prevent gun violence, but that presence has t
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Increased police presence in troubled areas could help prevent gun violence, but that presence has to be sustained and involved, residents said Thursday.

“They’ll find a way to do what they want to do,” 22-year-old Nicole Baker said of those involved in recent shootings. “But police need to walk around the neighborhood, not just stay in their cars.”

On the same Summit Avenue porch, Regina Lincoln said police presence must be known.

“They need to patrol the streets more,” she said, adding later that residents need to help watch over their own neighborhood, as well.

Increased patrols — including walking patrols — are under way, police said this week, announcing a reorganization to better confront violent incidents. Officials are targeting neighborhoods where shots have been most frequent, including Hamilton Hill, Mont Pleasant and Central State Street.

State troopers have been called in to help, while patrol patterns have been changed in response to the violence and officers sent to the streets from desk jobs.

EXPECTING RESULTS

And, if residents haven’t noticed the increase yet, they will, Public Safety Commissioner Wayne Bennett said Thursday.

Residents, he said, “should be able to sense their presence.”

Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association president Fred Lee said he noticed an increase first thing in the morning, spotting a patrol car on Summit.

Lee, a longtime resident, recalled past efforts by the city and state police to squelch outbursts of crime.

“They’ve been here before, and they’ve certainly helped a lot,” he said. “We certainly need their presence.”

State police came to Schenectady for joint patrols in Hamilton Hill and surrounding neighborhoods in 1999 and again in 2002 following outbreaks.

Officials made the most recent changes after a series of almost daily shootings over recent weeks, one of them resulting in a death.

The first 24 hours of the program went well, Bennett said. No shootings were reported, though he cautioned it is still early.

“It’s much too soon to make an honest assessment on whether we’ve taken this in the right direction,” he said. “But, I certainly hope that in a week’s time, we’ll get some kind of sense whether it’s working.”

The increased presence is taking the form of both officers in patrol cars and some officers walking the neighborhoods. Walking beats have not been possible because of shortages in manpower, he said.

Walking beats carries the risk that officers would be too far from their cars to respond to an emergency. More officers on patrol means more officers to spare to walk.

“If you have to run back to your car, that can delay the response even more,” Bennett said. “But, when you have additional patrols out there, you have people to cover calls.”

Bennett, a retired state police superintendent, said communication with the integrated state police patrols is seamless.

Troopers have the capability to switch their radios to Schenectady police frequencies, meaning they can be dispatched directly to calls.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply