Residents of Troy are concerned about an uptick in crime. Citizens and officials are furthering separate initiatives to “take back” the Collar City.
A seemingly never-ending spate of shootings, stabbings and more recently, arsons, has galvanized some neighbors in Lansingburgh and other areas of the city to take steps to help thwart crime.
Pressure from residents has spurred lawmakers to consider changes to Troy's curfew. The law presently requires children and teens under 18 to be inside by 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights, and 10:30 p.m. other nights of the week. The city council will discuss the citywide curfew when it meets Thursday night. Troy city councilmember at large Erin Sullivan-Teta explains that if a minor who violates curfew can't be turned over to a responsible adult, they have to stay at the police station with an officer until they can be picked up. "The officers are then taken off the streets to stay with the individual til the parent or guardian is located to come get the child."
Law Committee chair Councilman Jim Gordon expects any changes to the law itself will be minor - and promises additional police details will be on patrol. "These will be overtime details funded through grant money and also through the department standard overtime account. We will have five to six officers, maybe utilizing our mobile command center, specifically on the streets, enforcing curfew violation."
Back in May, Police Chief John Tedesco said police believed a lot of criminal activity across the city was tied to two rival gangs. "These people are not concerned directly with you or I, but when you have the shooting of innocent bystanders, then there's precautions that have to be taken."
Precautions aside, crime has continued throughout Troy. And innocent bystanders have found themselves in the line of fire, as Pastor Tim Sherman of Fresh Anointing Ministries will attest. "There was a shooting at 102nd just back from 5th Avenue two weeks ago in the alleyway, and then two days later there was a shooting on 6th Avenue by 101st. After that, the one that was on 102nd, a mail carrier was in the middle of it. She almost got hit by a stray bullet. After the one by 101st and 6th Avenue, we started seeing officers around that weren't our officers. We come to find out we got the FBI, the ATF and the federal postal inspectors actually walking around and riding around watching their postal workers."
Postal officials tell CBS6 the decision was made after some mail carriers voiced concerns. They wouldn't say exactly where the escorts were assigned or how long they would remain. Some neighbors in the North Central and Lansingburgh areas have taken to social media - via the hashtag #TakeBackTroy - its twitter account claims to be the voice of the Troy residents. Some of the tweets seem to have racial overtones - quoting one - "Our Historical Village Will NOT Be The Next Ghetto." Again, Pastor Sherman: "As much as they say racism does not exist in Troy, it has existed for many many years in Troy. It's not only African-Americans or Puerto Ricans that are out here doin' these crimes, there are caucasian kids out here too with them."
Dave Lucas: "Could Ferguson have been Troy or Troy have been Ferguson"
Sherman: "You know, I'm glad you asked that question because I was talking to a group of people out here on the street the other day about Ferguson. Mark my words, if something happened to one of our children here or even the adults, the citizens of Troy are gonna take to the streets, same way they did in Ferguson."
Sherman adds citizens have been trying to work with police and Mayor Lou Rosamilia, but it seems like they're getting nowhere. A #TakeBackTroy rally is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Powers Park. Pastor Sherman plans to attend.