During a streak of gun violence Wednesday, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan asked State Police and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office to step up patrols in the city.
Following a shooting incident on South Pearl Street in the city's South End, which is now being investigated as a homicide, Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins spoke to the press in the city's West Hill neighborhood. Hawkins stood at the corner of First and Quail Streets where a woman was reportedly struck in the neck by a stray bullet while in her vehicle.
Hawkins says the sharp increase in crime is a result of less police-community engagement due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic months ago.
“And we started seeing volumes of shell casings at some of our shootings that we hadn’t seen before," he notes. "And it was clear to us that a lot of this was because they felt emboldened because there was fewer police on the street, fewer police contacts, we have fewer interventions for almost three months. And they seized those opportunities. And now we’re seeing the aftermath of that.”
As officers responded to First and Quail Streets, police say a man arrived at Albany Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the shoulder.
A third shooting was reported Wednesday evening near the corner of Clinton Street and Second Avenue in the South End. Police say a 16-year-old was transported to Albany Med after being shot in the leg. Police also responded to reports of shots fired by Third Street and Ontario Street, but there were no injuries.
Thursday morning, Albany Police said they are investigating yet another homicide, capping a day of shootings that rocked the city Wednesday. Police say a 23-year-old man was shot in the torso before midnight Wednesday near Second Avenue and Grandview Terrace. He later died at Albany Medical Center. His identity was not immediately released.