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Troy: Officials Address Crime

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Officials in Troy are  addressing growing concern over what appears to be a spiraling crime rate.

Shootings - arsons - murders – Troy: Public perception of the Collar City has been tinged by the darkness of crime in recent weeks, despite public meetings and soul-searching in the city of about 50,000. Police Chief Tedesco is reassuring citizens.

"There's a little bit of hysteria being created by our local bloggers, if you will. I do not feel it's an accurate picture of Troy. As a matter of fact, violent crime in the city of Troy is right on par with last year. There's been a zero percent increase," said Tedesco.

Some residents have taken to social media asking for outside help from the Guardian Angels, the red-bereted crimefighting group that had a presence in the area years ago. District 1 Councilman Jim Gordon is renewing his call to bring back the Street Crimes Unit.    "They made a difference. They were a covert undercover detail that looked for street-level crime. And eradicated it. And were successful in doing do"

Dave Lucas: "Well, where'd they go? Why did they disappear?"

Jim Gordon:  "There was an issue between the previous administration and the PBA as to how the Street Crimes Unit as going to be manned, and eventually it led to it being disbanded."

Tedesco says his department is working at a fever pitch to solve all of the current cases, including a pair of unsolved murder cases, among the eight homicides in the city so far this year.  Again, Coucilman Gordon:   "I think what we are experiencing here in the city this year is just a perfect storm of bad timing of a lot of bad events. These aren't the norm. Obviously, like any city, you do have an uptick of crime in the summer months, but this, by any means, takes the cake."

Chief Tedesco urges residents to stay calm, but vigilant.   "We're making progress in the investigation of the homicides. It's not going to be overnight, and we just ask for their continued patience."

Mayor Lou Rosamilia wants residents to understand his administration is meeting the challenges head-on.   "This is of major concern to me, as a mayor of the city of Troy. As a result of my function as the CEO of the city,  it's my responsibility to work with the police department, and to make sure that we can assure these people, the residents of Troy, that we're working very hard. If you could see how much time and effort has been put in by the detective bureau, working 24/7 on these cases, and as they're doing their work, the city of Troy still has to do the normal police work."

City Council members called a press conference Thursday. Reporter Molly Eadie covers city government for the Troy Record. She says Chief Tedesco was there and explained why he doesn't intend to bring the Street Crimes Unit back:   "He is unable to choose which officers would be on the force and which sergeant or captain would be in charge of the unit, because of contracts with the PBA. But importantly, he said, it’s because the last time the street crimes unit was active it ended up in a federal court."

That case involved three Troy police officers, who were found not to have violated the civil rights of two men they subdued following a 2008 car chase.

A public safety committee meeting to "review Troy Police Department accomplishments, training and management," has been called for Sept. 22nd at City Hall.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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