Community leaders evaluate ways to curb sudden surge in violence

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The City of Albany has seen a more than 300 percent spike in gun violence. That’s led community leaders to ask for more policing in neighborhoods seeing an uptick in violence.

“We need to think and do things out of the box. We’ve done this before. Where going to come to a table again and talk about this?” said Victory Church Pastor Charlie Muller.

Muller’s worked for more than five years to get guns off the streets through his gun buy back program. With gun violence over the past week in the city soaring, he’s considering moving out of the First and Quail Street location of his church.

“If it becomes too violent in that area we don’t want to jeopardize someone’s life,” Mueller said.

To help lessen the problem, Muller said more police should be on the street adding, “the right police. Police that are going to police correctly.”

Albany Ward Leader Alfredo Balarin agreed with Muller. He added that more officers should be added in communities with heavy violence, though he said it won’t completely solve the issue.

“There is no silver bullet, unfortunately. It’s more engrained than that,” Balarin said.

Balarin said the officers entering these neighborhood must become familiar with the community members they’re helping.

“When you have more officers walking the neighborhood, getting to know the residence, getting to know the people that they serve, that [are] going to help build some bridges, that’s going to help address some of the concerns we’ve seen elsewhere,” Balarin said.

To address the situation now, Muller said there needs to be a curfew in communities with heightened violence.

“I believe [in a] curfew. I believe in the targeted areas. I believe we need to shut things down at a certain time,” Mueller said.

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