Assemblyman Bob Oaks (R-Macedon) heard testimony from the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office, top law enforcement officials and community activists at the Urban Crime Task Force’s first public forum. The first of seven statewide meetings took place in Utica where task force members gathered information about specific types of crime plaguing neighborhoods, tools currently used by law enforcement to combat crime and the resources needed to make streets safer.
"The Urban Crime Task Force will provide us a great opportunity to find out what programs are most effective for combating crime," Oaks said. "By utilizing the experience of professionals and citizens alike, we’ll be able to produce a plan that will effectively deal with issues like drug dealing, robbery and other crimes."
A report by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) detailing declines in crime rates in New York indicates that the cities of Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Newburgh, Albany and Buffalo did not experience the same rate of decline in crime that New York City experienced between 1994 and 2001. Arrests for controlled substance use, prostitution, robbery and aggravated assault all increased over that time period.
"Clearly, crime hampers the ability of our cities to experience growth and economic development," Oaks concluded. "The Urban Crime Task Force will give us the opportunity to develop legislation that will effectively lower crime rates, make our neighborhoods safer and help our communities grow." The knowledge gained and changes in the law can also be used to strengthen our villages and smaller communities and make them safer as well.
Participants offering testimony in today’s meeting included: Major Gerard Krops, New York State Police; the Utica Police chief; the Oneida County assistant district attorney, the commander of the Oneida County Drug Enforcement Task Force; the Oneida County Probation Department director; the Oneida County Probation Department deputy director; and representatives from Oneida County Sheriff’s Department and other police agencies.
For more information on efforts to reduce crime in New York state, contact Assemblyman Bob Oaks at (315) 946-5166.