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September 1, 2010 - 10:10am

Report of knife fight on State Street

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, State Street.

Batavia Police are responding to a report of a fight on State Street involving two men with knives.

UPDATE 10:12 a.m.: The fight was not in progress when the first police officer arrived. One subject is still in the area, the other is walking on Willow Street. An officer is with him now near the park.

C D
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I'll bet it was the State Street Gang and the Bank Street Thugs fighting over territory.
Howard B. Owens
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Yeah, Chris, it was members of those notorious Batavia one-member gangs going toe-to-toe.
Liz Fuchs
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Any names of whom it was or where on state st it happened.. Regretfully I reside on State st, with 3 children.. It's scary enough as is to allow my children in their own backyards. Would like a realistic view of how close to the danger I am at this moment.
Howard B. Owens
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Liz, we try to avoid reporting identifying information about suspects based on scanner reports. On something like this, we just want to give a general idea of why all those police cruisers are converging on a particular area -- just to answer the basic question, "What's going on?" In a situation like this, there isn't likely to be more follow up unless somebody is arrested and a report is released to the media.
Jason Brunner
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I think if we had a few good places for kids to hang out when they are young up until they are graduated to keep them out of trouble Batavia would be a much nicer place. All that children have to do here right now is learn how to fight and make up stupid arguments with each other. With a place to have fun and grown ups that they can trust and confide in I think a lot of these issues would be nipped in the bud.
Rachel Chudoba
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I agree Sara. I took my son to the spray park the other day and we could not even enjoy ourselves. People just hanging out there with NO kids swearing and drinking it was terrible. I wonder if there are plans on making another spray park at a different location in town?
John Roach
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Rachel, There was a plan to put a Spray Park on the south side at Kibby. But when the city got into debt, the plan was dropped.
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I think the police have to get more involved in these types of situations and especially situations that haven't escalated to the point of a "knife fight." In my experience, when the police are called to a dispute in Batavia, too often they try to calm things down instead of "busting some heads." Adults are being treated like children. If you break the law, you shouldn't be scolded by an officer and told not to do it again, you should be cuffed, tossed in a police car and charged.
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Sorry Rachel, I'll be sure to do my drinking and swearing indoors from now on ;)
Howard B. Owens
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In order to bust somebody, you've got to have evidence to support the charges. That evidence isn't as always easy to get as some might assume. There's ample evidence that "bust their heads" kind of policing only makes matters worse in a community, not better. I've heard a couple of calls recently of police being dispatched to Austin Park for the conduct of supposedly unruly adults in the pavilion. The police will respond if there are complaints. Of course, catching anybody actually doing wrong is another matter.
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Using terms like "wannabe", or saying "the kids here would have their asses handed to them if they went to Buffalo or Rochester...", is just irresponsible. The police claim that it is just people that are visiting from the bigger cities. Well who are they visiting? Do the gangbangers from the bigger cities turn in their gang uniforms and gang I.D. cards when they move out of the city? I will always comment on things like this Howard. When you have a group of adolescents that call them selves a gang and get tattoos on their hands to show their dedication and allegiance to their gang that makes them a gang. Just because you and the police chose to regard individuals like those mentioned above as "wannabes" doesn't make them any less of an issue that needs to be dealt with. Someone does not need to be from a lower economic class, minority group, or inner city in order to be in a gang. One of the most notorious Asian street gangs in Southern California was founded by a group of friends in the San fernando valley that were from well off families and all of them were straight A students. The Gang was the Asian Boys. Look them up. It's A knife fight today. How long until it's a shooting? Oh wait we just had a suspicious shooting the other night didn't we?
Jeremiah Pedro
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The "it can never happen here" attitude in this community will end up being it's downfall.
Howard B. Owens
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Jeremiah, I find your fear mongering to be the only thing irresponsible on this topic. As for "When you have a group of adolescents that call them selves a gang and get tattoos on their hands to show their dedication and allegiance to their gang that makes them a gang. " Go back to one of your own posts where you posted a definition of criminal gang activity from another source. There is no way to stretch that definition to meet the statement you just made above.
Jeremiah Pedro
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A criminal street gang is defined as any organization, association or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, which (1) has continuity of purpose, (2) seeks a group identity, and (3) has members who individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal activity. (Reference section 186.22(f) of the California Penal Code)" No stretch needed Howard. The tattoos show they are seeking a group Identity. The continuity of purpose is the gang itself. The reason why most neighborhood gangs start out is to have a sense of family. This is something that these people may not be getting at home. But then they could just want to emulate one of their favorite rap artist. As for the pattern of criminal activity I'm not privy to the individuals criminal records so I cannot make a valid comment on whether or not they have a pattern. I kind of take offense to the fear mongering comment. I'm not calling for martial law or to have neighborhoods bulldozed or even for armed vigilantes to patrol the streets. I just disagree with the local laws opinion on what these individuals are. I also disagree with your take on the issue. This is not a case of I'm right and you're wrong. That's not what I'm trying to do. Law enforcement just needs to take stuff like this serious. The same way they are dealing with the drug issue in this area. I'm sure at some point a lot of people were of the opinion that there was no drug problem in Genesee county or the surrounding counties for that matter.
Bryant Tyson
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The gang debate is really getting old. The fact that this type of voilent activity is happening in our community should be everyone's concern.
Howard B. Owens
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Jeremiah, there is no evidence that any of those three elements exist, except on your say-so.
Jeremiah Pedro
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Even If I did have photographic evidence you still wouldn't accept it Howard. You are strongly opposed to the idea that gang activity exists in Fair town Batavia. I'm pretty sure that the local Law enforcement does not take photo's of suspected gang tattoos of those people they do arrest. So you could say I have no proof what so ever. Like I have said before Howard we will just always disagree on this issue.
JoAnne Rock
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Jeremiah, you may find this link interesting. It's about an international sting operation that broke up a major methamphetamine network that used gang members to transport product...2 men from Batavia were arrested. http://www.ergogenics.org/296.html
Howard B. Owens
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"Even If I did have photographic evidence you still wouldn't accept it Howard. You are strongly opposed to the idea that gang activity exists in Fair town Batavia. " That's illogical Jeremiah. If you had evidence, then you would meet the criteria I'm demanding. The only thing I'm opposed to is fear mongering. Fear mongering means spreading fear without evidence that there is anything to fear. The disadvantage for me in this argument is that some day there may be gang activity here and my position will look naive. It's certainly possible that gangs will some day establish themselves in Batavia. But it hasn't happened yet. For now, in the absence of evidence, I will continue to insist on evidence. Everything else is fear mongering.
Howard B. Owens
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JoAnne, you don't have to go back to 2004 to find cases of gang related drug activity in Genesee County. I can think of two or three cases I've reported where I strongly suspect drug dealing suspects had gang ties. That's not the same as saying there are gangs in Genesee County or Batavia.
Gary Spencer
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OK, here's my take on this mess.....(for what it's worth, about 2.5 cents---before taxes =.005 cents after) Although these individuals may not fit the classic definition of a "street gang" they are, more than likely acting as one, they are participating in criminal activity (selling drugs, burglary etc.) they are committing acts of violence and in general casing disturbances in the neighborhoods. I agree with Jeremiah that something needs to be done (I am not sure what the solution is, there is no easy answer) I don't believe that there are "turf wars" going on and a great deal of the violence, I think, is fueled by drugs and disagreements amongst individuals that has gotten out of control.
JoAnne Rock
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I certainly don't believe that we have gangs in Batavia like those of LA or NYC, or even Buffalo or Rochester for that matter. But if gang related activity is going on here, then somewhere there is a gang that they are a part of. By your definition, the only difference seems to be that they only "work" here and "live" somewhere else.
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Howard B. Owens
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I only got the tail end of a call involving a baseball bat and didn't report it because I didn't have the street name.
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Jason Crater
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What kind of drugs have you been buying in Batavia Frank?
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Brenda Ranney
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Every night between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. I travel State from Richmond to Washington. Recently I had to slow down then stop due to cats(perhaps skunks) slowly crossing the street . Almost immediately a man stepped of a porch, quickly reached my car and came around to the driver side window. I waved him on (trying to be twenty ten cool not eighties cool)he gave me a "were good" nod and went back on the porch. Needless to say when I enter & leave the Towers at that time of night I only have my keys and cell phone. Cell is already dialed to 911. My Mom's watches out her window with her phone in hand. On the flip side I also travel every morning between 7 and 9 a.m. same route. I see ladies waiting for the B-line bus to go to work. I see young girls in uniforms walking to work. Parents with children in tow utilizing Batavia's shoe leather express. Neighbors walking their dogs. There by the Grace of God goes my neighborhood. I disagree with the opinion that there is no youth activities in our city. Besides the numerous activities sponsored by the Youth Bureau there is also the Library, and many of the churches in the downtown's area have youth groups. I can name 3 in the space of 4 city blocks; City Church, Presbyterian, and St. Joes. These activities aren't active past 10 p.m. They aren't meant to be. Perhaps that is what a curfew is for.
Howard B. Owens
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Franks wrote, "Howard, the drug culture has been alive and well in Batavia for as long as I can remember." Where have I EVER said otherwise? George, you think I'm idiot? I drive around town plenty. I deal with police issues everyday. I know as well as you or anybody else what is going on. And a total of about three people doesn't constitute "actual citizens" there are plenty of "actual citizens" who take a view opposite of you and Jeremiah, including people with a lot more expertise and actual contact with the streets of Batavia. In fact, go back to today's post about the guy busted for the baseball bat attack. That was one of the first posts for the whole "gang activity" argument with some of the "actual citizens" saying the incident was proof of gang activity. And as it turns out, it wasn't. It was a thug from Rochester here to make trouble. I've seen no better proof yet than that incident that the people crying "gangs, gangs" are merely blowing smoke.
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Really ? Wow, it think a good well written curfew would help. Also just inforcing the laws that are already on the books when able. Now would be a good time for the council person of that area & a rep from BPD to meet and brainstorm with residents of that neighborhood. K, running late & my Mom is gonna call po po on me now.
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Frank, I can't speak for Jason, however you said "After living in Buffalo for 2 years, I found it much easier to obtain drugs in Batavia, than in the city of Buffalo." That would imply that you have done drugs in Batavia (or at least "found it much easier to obtain drugs" (maybe they were for somebody else) I do agree with you though because back when I was still in active addiction (late '80's early '90's) I found pretty much whatever I wanted right here in Batavia, and I still know many active addicts who report that Batavia is a mecca for drug activity (not to mention all the drugs busts that go on on a regular basis.
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Batavia, Ny is turning into a ghetto. A cesspool of crime and no morals. Men, collecting welfare, not working drinking, buying illegal over and under the counter drugs. Do You know why? Because Judges, District Attorneys, Law Enforcement, City Leaders, Politicians, are raking in a fortune, from those type of people and their activities. Do you think they want to see that end? The answer is no. It would infringe their lifestyle. That's why it ontinues. Believe me, if you want it over, it could've been over. It's as much white people as it is latino's and Blacks, if not more in Genesee County and The City of Batavia, Ny.
Howard B. Owens
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Jason, here's the part that doesn't make sense to me: Law enforcement, judges, etc.: They're enforcing the law. They're sending to jail the people who cause harm to our community. So how is that making things worse? Who is is going to get the bad guys off the streets if not for the cops and the judges and the attorneys? Do you think they're going out to Buffalo and Rochester and recruiting bad guys to come here so they can arrest them? Exactly how is the law enforcement community creating the problem. The problem, as I see it, isn't just a Batavia thing. It's a New York thing (and to varying degrees, an issue over the whole country). It's been said many times before: It's too easy to get on social assistance in New York. There's an element of people who won't work. There's also the problem of too few good paying jobs -- the whole rust belt thing. Many of the people who are now at the lower end socio-economic ladder would in other times be working at factories in WNY. Good paying jobs make good citizens. There's also the whole slide in our society away from community engagement. Engaged communities are healthy communities. Look at the Muckdogs situation as an example: It's hard in a community of 60,000 people to get 2K a night to attend a baseball game, essentially a community event. All community organizations increasingly struggle with membership and participation. We lost our Elks Lodge, apparently, over this very issue. One of the main reasons The Batavian exists, at least for me, is to try to spur a new era of community engagement. There are a lot of powerful pressures against such a notion -- TV, chief among them -- and it might be a foolish notion. Part of the reason we require real names is to help foster that sense of community -- if you know who you're talking with, that might have more impact on physical space engagement than if you were arguing with some anonymous character over a keyboard. If some people want to believe there are all these gangs in Batavia, so be it. But that's really beside the point unless you're willing to do something about it. To me, Batavia is a community on the cusp. It could go either way. There's a lot of potential here: -- Even with high taxes, the cost of living is a lot lower than a good portion of the rest of the country; -- The climate is relatively mild for an area with four seasons, and the four seasons are something that many people enjoy (though, obviously, not all); -- WNY and GC are beautiful areas; -- Plenty of recreational opportunities; -- Well located geographically with plenty of resources; -- Plenty of good, hard working people. There are things to build on. The positives still outweigh the negatives, as far as I'm concerned. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here. But will people build on it, or should we just all sit around an bemoan our sad fate? We need a few things, but chief among them is more community engagement, and some way to encourage and foster entrepreneurialism. We need the job creators. I don't have much in the way ideas on how to make that happen, but I think that's what we need. If we don't have those things, then, yeah, we risk sliding toward real gangs and more troubled neighborhoods and more crime and fewer opportunities. Should we just accept that fate, or should we do something about it?
Dave Olsen
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Howard wrote: Good paying jobs make good citizens. Absolutely. "According to the New York State Department of Labor, 83% of people who violate the terms of probation and parole are unemployed at the time of violation." Not that we need any new Government Programs, but taking a different look would help in my and this person's view http://www.drummajorinstitute.org/library/article.php?ID=5517
Howard B. Owens
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Watched an interesting program on prison systems last night. In whatever county this was about, the recidivism rate is 50 percent for criminals who serve time in jail. Young offenders who are put through a military-style boot camp never get arrested again 80 percent of the time. I'd forgotten about boot camps, but remember hearing about the rehabilitative success in the 1990s.
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Howard, I enjoyed reading your post. It's a shame that you only get to see Batavia, as you aptly put it... as a city on the cusp. I, and other lifelong Batavians still have fond memories of Batavia as a vibrant and engaged community during it's best years, prior to urban renewal, when it was a great place to grow up and raise a family. Even after urban renewal, it had it's moments. The original Wing Ding events that were associated with the air show drew shoulder to shoulder crowds on Main St. The best parade Batavia ever had, IMO, was for our returning Desert Storm vets...it was filled with such pride and community spirit that you could feel it. I'd like to add to your list of things that the community needs, and that is, a community identity or brand, for lack of a better term. Urban renewal took away our identity and we have yet to establish a cohesive new one. We are neither quaint nor metropolitan...retro nor cutting edge...a party town nor retirement community...we are in limbo, or as you put it...on the cusp. Batavia needs to identify common values that residents are willing to rally around and embrace. Patriotism come to mind as one example and it isn't dependent on a good economy to succeed. Batavia....the most patriotic city in America....I like the sound of that.
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Batavia, the most partiotic city in America, loses America's past time... I don't see this town coming back ever, I have lost my hope that it would.
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Hey, remember this thread? http://www.thebatavian.com/blogs/howard-owens/batavia-has-significant-as... the new money in this country wants to fund "Green Projects" space is something Batavia has. Let's think about ways private citizens can start ringing the bell. I can write letters, so can a lot of commenters on this site.

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