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Committee Makes Plans as Weather Gets Warmer

April 15, 2010

by Zachary Olsavicky

Albany, NY- A mix of police, emergency medical technicians, business owners, and residents gathered at Center Station Wednesday for a meeting with the Committee on University and Community Relations. The committee, which seeks to improve safety and communication between students and residents of the Pine Hills area, updated safety reports from neighborhood residents, students and businesses. The committee also introduced plans for the upcoming weeks, when safety issues arise as the weather warms up.

The Committee introduced a six-point plan to handle issues arising with students as the academic year winds down. Two cleanup dates were announced for Wednesdays May 12th and May 19th for special trash pickup in the Beverwyck and Pine Hills neighborhoods, when many students will be leaving their apartments to return home. The plan also includes the distribution of literature to neighborhood homes about safety tips and suggestions for getting rid of unwanted items during end-of-semester moving out. The Committee also set plans to educate students about fire hazards, like barbecuing and placing stuffed furniture on porches, and safe alcohol consumption.

For the most part, members of the police, fire, and campus security departments reported few major issues from the past week. However, one attendee said there had been problems with graffiti at his business. Jordan Abbott, whose family owns the Abbott Tavern on Ontario Street, said his tavern had been hit by graffiti the day before. Abbott said that it had been a reoccurring event for the past few months. He said the graffiti artists were usually only 13 to 14 years old, and that they would spray paint at three to four in the morning.

“It’s a city, and it’s always going to be there. I think the city does a very good job of taking care of it,” said Abbott.

Another topic addressed at the meeting was the upcoming spring events at area colleges—the Albany College of Pharmacy’s Spring Fest, the University at Albany’s Fountain Day and The College of Saint Rose’s Rose Rock festival. All three events are happening on consecutive days at the end of April, which will provide a challenge for campus security and Albany police. Committee chairperson Thomas L. Gebhardt did ask that area bars require two forms of identification from students to lower alcohol-related incidents. Gebhardt, who is the Director of Personal Safety and Off-Campus Affairs with the University Police Department at the University of Albany, also asked for an increase in police presence at the events.

He said that since the University police doesn’t have any jurisdiction off campus, their main goal would be to educate students on how to safely have fun. “Yeah, we all want to have a good time and it is nice weather… but we want everybody to be safe, and that’s the bottom line.” -30-


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