A Schenectady neighborhood that’s seen it’s share of crime and blight, is getting a much deserved boost thanks to unique cooperative effort between the police and a community pastor.
Once a month for 2 years now, Lt. Ryan Macherone and Sgt. Nick Mannix walk the beat in Schenectady’s Mont Pleasant neighborhood.
“Walking beats and walking patrol is nothing new to policing for us.”, says Lt. Macherone.
But, officers getting out and introducing themselves to every business owner on the street- that is new.
The officers check in with business owners and listen to their concerns. And just their presence alone appears to be helping.
Ketan Thakkar, owner of Country Farm gas station and convenience store says, “It was very bad when I came 3 years ago. But now it’s better than before.”
“If they [business owners] see something on the street or they know something is up they are more likely to give us a call.” says Sgt. Nick Mannix.
But, the entire idea didn’t originally come from the police. It came from a man on a mission- Pastor James Bookhout.
“Like get the ‘Good Book’ out.”, says Bookhout with a smile.
His Bridge Christian Church ministry offers a place for worship, workouts, laundry, a food pantry and anything members of the community might need.
Bookhout is also the president of the Mont Pleasant Merchants Association- which just secured more than $400,000 dollars for business facade improvements.
“I see more commerce coming back in the area. I see an attitude that’s healthier from the merchants as well as on the streets.” he said.
And he believes that as crimes goes down business will continue to look up.