ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Violent crime in Albany is up six percent in the last two years. The common council wants to change those numbers by focusing on the crime “hot spots.”
In light of recent violence, the Albany Common Council is implementing an emergency plan to create a Community Quality of Life Patrol program. It is being called the Hot Spot Elimination, Assessment, and Tracking Program.
Common Council Pres. Corey Ellis said the plan is needed now more than ever.
“Right now, residence and business owners do not feel safe in the city, and the numbers — as we say — it’s not the numbers, it’s the perception people don’t feel safe. We have to take that for what it is,” he said.
The program is designed to determine areas with the highest incidents of crime on a weekly basis, and it will be attempting to strengthen existing relationships between the city and community-based organizations.
“The institutions in the organizations that are already in those neighborhoods, finding out what more they can do to be part of that presence on an everyday basis and not just when we see an uptick and crime,” Ellis said.
Ellis said the Quality of Life Patrol will be made up of many city departments, including City Codes and the police department. The purpose will be to provide more transparency with those departments and what they are doing to combat the crime.
“Provide the data on how you’re doing on Patrols in different neighborhoods and show us how that’s happened,” Ellis explained. “And then, when the business owner or the residence is, yes, you know, I feel safer here; I feel there’s a presence here; I feel like I can walk down the street and nothing will happen to me in the broad daylight.”
NEWS10 reached out to the mayor’s office, and a spokesperson sent the following statement:
“This non-binding resolution is nothing more than a recitation of what the City has been doing under Mayor Sheehan’s leadership to combat violence and address quality of life issues for years. Anyone who does not realize that simply has not been paying attention.”
Albany police spokesperson Steve Smith said in a statement:
“The Albany Police Department has been utilizing ‘hot spot’ policing strategies for more than a decade as a means of deploying resources to address a variety of issues, including crime and quality of life concerns… all of which continue to contribute to the recovery of illegal firearms, the arrest of dangerous individuals, and many successful convictions.”
Director of the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance Rick LaJoy said they already do something similar. He said the city coding department already works in tandem with the police department performing what is called Code Sweeps.
The common council will vote on the resolution on August 21.