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Albany Police Department Steps Up Security in Pine Hills Area

October 8, 2010

by Christine Kenyi

Spotlight on Hudson Ave and Ontario St (Christine Kenyi)

Parts of the Pine Hills neighborhood have in recent weeks been the focus of more rigorous scrutiny by the Albany Police Department in an attempt to improve the safety of its residents.

On Hudson Avenue and Ontario Street a large spotlight  shines down the street on weekends. Det. James Miller said the goal of this spotlight is to improve safety of the residents, as this is a particularly dark area at night. He said he thinks this device is making a difference and should lead to a reduction in crime.

The police tower that was located on Madison Avenue and Ontario Street at the beginning of the fall semester was the first indication that the police department was working to survey this section of the neighborhood more closely. The mobile tower was later moved for Lark Fest and will be used in different parts of Albany to serve as a deterrent to crime, Miller said.

Several residents in the area have greeted these safety measures with positive feedback. Alicia Bragg, a senior at the College of Saint Rose thinks that the presence of the bright light is definitely a positive step towards improving safety in the neighborhood. Bragg’s house on Morris Street was the victim of a vandalism attack during the summer.

“When someone puts a brick through your window in the middle of the night, you can’t help but be scared… I think the increased security is a great idea,” she said.

Bragg filed a police report after the incident and was informed by the police that she was one of several victims that night. The police suspected the same vandals were to blame as houses hit were in close proximity to each other. No one has been charged yet.

A business owner located across the street from the large spotlight echoed praise for Albany PD’s efforts. Frank Scavio, one of the owners of Paesan’s Pizza applauded the police for being proactive, but was still unsure of exactly how effective these devices will be. He said the people responsible for these crimes obviously don’t care since there have still been reports of robberies in surrounding areas in the past few weeks, despite the ever-present cameras on the main street corners and the initial presence of the police tower.

Scavio described recent crimes reported in this area as “upsetting” and expressed concern for the effects they could have on his business.

“ This business survives on Saint Rose students and Albany students and we need safety for everyone so our business can go forward,” he said.

Albany PD and the surrounding colleges have encouraged residents and especially students to be mindful of their surroundings at night and take steps such as walking in groups to help improve their own personal safety in this neighborhood. -30-


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