Niagara Falls N.Y. (WIVB) – Though the summer is beautiful in Niagara Falls, the community has been dealing with violence on an almost daily basis.
James Brown lives in the city. He said, “It’s very bad. I mean, if you’re getting a shooting every week, every month, it’s very bad”
Bob Henry agrees, saying, “You hear it’s a nice town and then you get here and live here and it’s not exactly what that.”
Niagara Falls Police says there has been an uptick in violence, which is why officers hit the streets last week to fight back with saturation patrols. Three people were arrested for marijuana possession, but residents say it’s more than drugs.
Henry says he sometimes hears gunshots. Over the past eight days, there have been eight shootings in the city.
The community is beginning to fight back. At the corner of Centre Ave and Highland Ave, the same block of a recent shooting, a community organization is doing what it can to help. The Highland Community Revitalization Committee believes in the broken windows theory: if you fix up a community’s appearance, you can start to fix the deeper issues.
“I would like to see us rehab more houses,” said president Debra Hicks. “To develop a tax roll, more programs for the children.”
She suggests the answer to fighting violence could be as simple as more jobs.
“It shows there’s an area of hopelessness people need jobs and I’ve heard one person say the best way to stop a bullet is to give them a job.”
Niagara Falls Police plan to continue saturation patrols throughout the summer. Mayor Paul Dyster says police are implementing a zero tolerance policy and will continue to put more boots on the ground until they take back the streets.