Albany County residents need help after surge in gun violence

Albany County

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Countless Albany County residents have been impacted by the surge in gun violence, and it’s not just physical wounds that need healing. Now, there’s an increase in people seeking emotional help as well. The question is, where can people go for help, and who qualifies?

“We get calls from people who have had bullets in their cars or gunshots through their windows in their apartments,” Karen Ziegler, Director of the Albany County Crime Victim Services and Sexual Violence Center, said.

The Albany County Crime Victim Services and Sexual Violence Center offers help to victims, but services don’t stop there.

“Cause it’s not just the person who’s shot, It’s their family, it’s their neighborhood. It’s the entire community of Albany County that’s affected by the gun violence,” Ziegler said.

Ziegler said the center is seeing a rise in people seeking help in the wake of violent crimes across the board.

“People were trapped in their homes, and their ability to get out more is allowing them to seek the services that they weren’t able to access last year,” Ziegler said.

Saint Peters Health Partners is seeing another trend: Calls for crime victims services at the Emergency Department have doubled since last year.

When News10’s Stephanie Rivas asked the Director of Crime Services for Saint Peter’s, Lindsey Crusan-Muse, why it’s happening, she said it’s a combination of things.

She agreed that people are seeking help more after quarantine, but it’s not that just that.

“There are just some crimes happening a little bit more right now,” Crusan-Muse said.

The sentiment from both facilities is the same; everyone impacted by gun violence is deserving of help. 

“We look to help the whole community because we know harmed people harm people,” Ziegler said.

All of these Counseling, therapy and advocacy services are confidential and come at zero cost but can make a big difference.

“How can we best support you as you are going through this very traumatic experience and trying to cope with it,” Crusan-muse said.

The process is simple. Just call Albany County at (518) 447-7100 to make an appointment or call Saint Peter’s hotline at 518-271-3257 to get support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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