How to combat ongoing Albany violence: Mayoral candidates respond

Albany County

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As most residents spent the Fourth of July weekend celebrating, there were two consecutive shootings in Albany under 24 hours. The Albany Mayoral candidates responded to the ongoing violence in Albany with their plans to combat the issue moving forward.

Albany Police responded to reports of shots fired in the area of First Street and Lexington Avenue on July 3, around 9:15 p.m. Then, at approximately 8:40 p.m. the following day, Police responded to another shooting that left two men in the hospital with gunshot wounds.

In response, Republican Mayoral candidate Alicia Purdy held a press conference this morning to condemn the current administration’s handling of the ongoing violence in Albany.

“In order for our transformation to occur, we must take the crucial and first step to voice our discontent,” Purdy said. “The people I speak with, everyday people, they actually want a greater presence of the police.”

Purdy said this strategy works and pointed to late May when New York State Troopers assisted Albany Police with increased patrols.

NEWS10 ABC spoke with Mayor Sheehan, and she agreed that the Albany Police force has dwindled in numbers. She said a mixture of retirements and small class sizes at the Albany Police Academy due to COVID-19 are to blame.

“But now that we’re coming out of COVID, we’re looking at hiring a very large class off the list that we’re waiting for,” Sheehan.

However, Sheehan said the police officers can’t solve this ongoing problem alone.

“Reaching out to them as a resource to say, hey, there’s something brewing here. Maybe we as a community can step in and prevent this violence from happening,” Sheehan said.

Independent Mayoral candidate, Greg Aidala, works for his family-owned business—Quail Auto Sales—in West Hill. He said he had seen the community change for the worse firsthand.

“We are in the hot zone of the violence, and the community, I can tell you right now, is tired of it,” Aidala said.

Aidala also agreed that there needs to be a boost in Albany Police presence. For him, it’s not just about hiring officers; it’s about keeping them long-term.

“Because there’s a lot that come in. They’re trained, and in three weeks, they’re going to the suburbs or the troopers,” Aidala said. “We need safer streets, and we need cleaner streets. It’s the only way we can have innate trust.”

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