City police are going to be cracking down on public alcohol consumption in an effort to deter fights.
Detective Sgt. Owen Fuhs said the department is also working to have a greater presence in the city to deter crowds.
Fuhs said the department is aware that crime is increasing in the city especially as the days become longer and the weather gets hotter. Fuhs said he believes alcohol consumption also increases during the warmer, longer days of summer, which can fuel arguments.
“People respond to heat and alcohol and that increases the frequency of street fights,” Fuhs said. “Our officers are aware of that.”
The department is going to be enforcing open container laws in an effort to deter public consumption of alcohol.
A lot more people are outside now and as friends, neighbors and relatives gather in the nice weather. A small argument can quickly escalate into a large fight involving 20 people or more, police said.
Such was the case in two recent incidents in the city. The most recent incident, which happened last Monday night, involved a group of people on Grand Street who were allegedly hitting each other with hammers and metal pipes.
The investigation revealed that the fight started between two males and escalated when friends and family of either side jumped in.
A man was treated at the scene for injuries he suffered when he was hit with a metal pipe.
Two people were arrested in that fight — Jessica Suitto, who allegedly struck the male with the metal pipe, and her mother, Toni Lynn DeMatteo, accused arguing with officers as they arrested her daughter.
A month ago, police were involved with what they called a riot on the East End as about 40 people began fighting among themselves and with police. That fight allegedly involved relatives and friends of two Kline Street families.
Five people were arrested in that incident; two were charged with felony assault on a police officer.
The department has started its bicycle patrols again, Fuhs said, and have split the K-9 officers’ shifts so one K-9 presence is on the streets during the daylight hours. The school resource officer also will be available to patrol the streets once school lets out in June, Fuhs said.
The city is considering hiring two new patrol officers, which should reduce the amount spent on overtime. A lateral hire, an officer who joins Amsterdam police from another department, could start immediately, Fuhs said.
Fuhs said cities and communities are changing nationwide and residents should be aware of that. However, Amsterdam is still one of the safest communities and cities in the Capital Region, “bar none,” Fuhs said.