Schenectady County

Police statistics say downtown Schenectady is safe

The aftershock of last week’s shotgun shooting of a Schenectady man on State Street appears to have

The aftershock of last week’s shotgun shooting of a Schenectady man on State Street appears to have rolled through the city’s centerpiece thoroughfare with little impact.

A sampling of people interviewed Thursday night, a week to the day since the crime, said they knew about the shooting, which left a man wounded in the thigh, but still believed downtown safe enough to visit.

Police have not released the name or condition of the victim.

Dan Kennedy of Rotterdam stood Thursday outside Bombers Burrito Bar on State Street, across the street from where the man was shot, smoking a cigarette and enjoying the warm night. He was at Bombers to celebrate the birthday of a friend.

“I heard about the shooting,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about it.”

Kennedy said he has no fear coming downtown, calling the shooting an isolated incident.

Tom Iadicicco of Schenectady also felt safe enough to visit Bombers at night with his girlfriend.

“I came out to dinner and will stay downtown for an open house at Northeastern Fine Jewelry,” he said.

Iadicicco, who works downtown during the day, also said he sees a bit of damage control taking place among authorities about the shooting.

“They want to keep that perfect image that it is safe and family-oriented,” he said.

Area merchants said downtown is safe and it is cleaner and a much better place than it was years ago.

David D’Amato, who has owned and operated Ideal Office Center on Jay Street for 21 years, called last week’s shooting a “blip. There is not much crime downtown.”

Statistics from the Schenectady Police Department bear him out. They show that violent crime in the area encompassing downtown is relatively nonexistent compared to other zones in the city.

Statistics for the downtown zone show there were no murders, six robberies and four aggravated assaults (which involves menacing) during the hours of 4 p.m. to midnight between January and August. These numbers comprise 0 percent, 8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, of total crime in the city for the same period. There were two reports of rape, but police classified them as acquaintance rape, meaning the suspect knew the victim.

Nate Meehan, lead crime analyst for the Police Department, said downtown visitors are not being targeted for crimes and the reported crimes in the zone involve people who know each other, generally in a domestic situation.

For JoAnn Sifo, secretary of the Jay Street Merchants Association, what is more important to her than the shooting is what happens afterwards.

“We should be more concerned about how our Police Department is handling the problem,” she said. She offered a checklist: Are police working to prevent similar incidents from occurring, and are they doing enough to reassure the public they are on top of crime? Her answer is “yes.”

Sifo said police have stepped up their presence downtown significantly in the past three years.

“They come into the store, they know your routine, they check up on us,” she said.

Police spokesman Officer Michael Crounse said since May the department has added four to six additional officers to its foot patrols of downtown and other zones of the city. The extra patrols complement the daily foot patrol that covers downtown between 8 a.m. and midnight weekdays. There is no foot patrol coverage on weekends, unless there is an event, but the department maintains a patrol car downtown or nearby all the time, he said.

The extra police muscle helps make people feel safe, even though crime in the area is minimal, Crounse said.

“Downtown is an area the city is trying to promote,” he said.

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