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July 14, 2015 - 5:59pm

Batavia residents urge for crack down on neighborhood crime

posted by Traci Turner in batavia, city council, crime.

A group of Hutchins Street residents raised the issue of increased criminal activity in their neighborhood during a City Council meeting Monday.

Ken Darch, a resident on Hutchins Street who represented the group, expressed his concern for the continuous fighting and drug activity in his neighborhood.

Darch told of a fight involving 15 to 20 people that broke out Friday night and started up again Saturday morning. 

“There is constant drug activity of all kinds," Darch said. "There are cars going up and down the streets and transactions going on constantly,” Darch said. “Hutchins Street has also become a sanctuary for sexual offenders.”

Darch stated the two major problems that need to be addressed are the unaccountable landlords and the lack of law enforcement. Darch said the city needs to take action and hold offenders responsible for the crimes they commit.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian agreed with Darch about the increasing amount of criminal activity not just in his neighborhood but in all areas of the city.

“We used to have minor problems," Christian said. “Right now we have major problems. There is no respect for police officers and a lot of drugs out there."

Christian said she believes the resolution to the problem involves increasing police patrols and neighbors following through with signing a complaint if they witness a crime being committed.

Second Ward Councilwoman Patti Pacino and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Kathy Briggs want to hold a meeting with residents to address neighborhood crime.

“We have a lot of problems and we need to take action,” Briggs said. “I’m willing to meet with all of our wards to do something.”

Councilman John Deleo stressed the need to invest in street cameras. According to Deleo, the camera placed on State Street has significantly reduced crime in the area.

Other business at Monday's City Council meeting included approving a pay raise for the city manager and a presentation by the Batavia Development Corporation.

The council voted 6 to 3 in favor of giving City Manager Jason Molino a 2-percent wage increase. Molino’s annual salary will be $91,272.

The Batavia Development Corporation is requesting proposals from individuals or organizations that would like to invest in the former Della Penna and Santy’s properties. Julie Pacatte, economic development coordinator, hopes to attract private investors with tax incentives to clean up the rundown properties. According to Pacatte, investors can received up to 50 percent of cleanup costs with tax credits through the Brownfield Cleanup Program. The deadline for proposals is Aug. 12.

Jim Urtel Jr
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Start mandatory drug testing for welfare and HUD. For some reason they seem to go hand in hand. I have lived next to 2 of these HUD houses and both were drug havens after being converted from regular rentals into HUD rentals. They don`t even try to hide it either. We have one house on our street that was recently converted into HUD apartments about a year ago and the drug traffic never stops. Plus these houses always seem to end up being occupied by multiple people after the initial person rents them. The owners don`t care because they don`t live anywhere near it and just keep collecting the fat rent checks from the state. I realize that some people need HUD and welfare and they abide by the rules and thats fine and they would have nothing to worry about if they are clean. The list for these programs would drastically decrease and a lot of the drug activity would move elsewhere. Both of the houses I lived next to went from zero drug activity before HUD and non-stop activity after becoming HUD approved.

Dave Olsen
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Jim, I can understand your frustration with the government assistance system, especially since it has invaded your next door property and gotten straight into your face. But, I have to say that more government is never the answer. If they were to start mandatory drug testing for welfare and HUD recipients, it would create a whole new drooling, hungry bureaucracy. Career drug test sample collectors, unionized and on the state pension program. (think TSA) Plastic bottles that cost 10 bucks each, court cases over those thrown off the dole for testing positive. Extra security, probably have to have state-owned and run test labs which will add more state employees, more buildings and the cost of maintaining them, low efficiency, long times for results, etc etc etc. Again, I get where you are coming from, but more government doesn't solve the problems of government. I would offer as a solution: making recreational drug use not against the law. That will end the illegal drug trade, and stop creating criminals. Drugs will be cheaper and the dealers will be retail establishments, not thugs. Ending the stigma of having a drug arrest/conviction on your record will make more people employable. Remove the cost of policing, justice and jailing of drug law offenders and lighten the tax load on everyone including employers who can then hire a person or 2. I don't think it necessarily ends the welfare problem but it will help and its a good place to start.

Jim Urtel Jr
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So you figure everything will get better if we get rid of government and get high! Yea, that should clear things right up!

Dave Olsen
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No, I'm not going to use drugs if they're legal, sounds like you won't either. Most people won't. Anyone who wants to get high can do it right now. Its obvious that we,as a society are spending far too much trying to stop something that is unstoppable. Let's spend a portion of it on education and treatment and come out so very far ahead.
My drug is reality and I'm addicted

Dave Olsen
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"The U.S. federal government spent over $15 billion dollars in 2010 on the War on Drugs, at a rate of about $500 per second. State and local governments spent at least another 25 billion dollars." www.drugsense.org/cms/wodclock
If, as a nation, we spend 1/4 (10 billion) on education and treatment and let taxpayers keep the other 30 billion; how far ahead would we be?

I don't know what Genesee County and Batavia spend, but I'm guessing, if drugs were legal, Batavia wouldn't need 30 police officers or a 12 million dollar new police station, and the county won't be asking for a new jail next year. (you know that's coming as soon as the police station is settled right?)

Howard B. Owens
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So you stop giving drug users social service aid ... what happens to them? They wind up homeless, hungry, in need of medical care, or committing more property crimes and crimes of violence just to survie ... read more $$$ out of taxpayers pockets.

Dave's right ... legalize and regulate and manage ... collect taxes, rid the country of black market crime and criminality, reduce waste of taxpayer money fighting an issue that simply can't be fought effectively by law enforcement ... and manage the addicts in a manner that makes them less of a burden to taxpayers and provides path for those who take it out of addiction.

Jim Urtel Jr
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How much do you think the state is spending on these dealers and users food and housing? It amazes me how these people cant afford their own living expenses but can afford to be wasted everyday. When I would come home from work almost everyday there was a full blown party with alcohol, people smoking weed, steaks and ribs on the grill, etc. I think we would save more money by denying benefits to those who test positive. It would cut a lot of the problem out.

Jim Urtel Jr
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So after all these years of fighting the drug war we should just give up and give in and collect some tax dollars off it huh? Yea, that makes great sense! Lets legalize the problem and then treat the masses for addiction. Its like building casinos and then sending the patrons to gamblers anonymous. Everything is fine as long as we can get some tax dollars! You wonder what is wrong with our country?

Dave Olsen
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Jim; In my first comment, I was making the point that it will cost more to test them, then it costs now. Its counter-productive. I just forgot to add that sentence, got carried away as this issue frustrates me too. I really do understand your frustration, Most of us in Genesee County work our butts off, I did 2 jobs for a lot of years or worked 50 and 60 hrs a week at one. To see someone else scam the system and then give you grief on top, makes you angry. Its the solution we are apart on.

Dave Olsen
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As to #8 - some times you got to cut bait and move on.

Jim Urtel Jr
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Legalizing it wont cut down on crime because the legalized stuff will be priced higher than the black market stuff. The testing should come out of benefits. What amazes me is that in most places you have to take a drug test to work. I raced horses my whole life in numerous states and got fingerprinted and drug tested more times than I can count. Its a problem that will never probably be solved but I just don`t think giving up and enabling is the answer. I left this area in 1994-2004 to go race in PA and when I came back I couldn`t believe what the area has become. We are going backwards.

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