Is There a Problem?
This has been one hectic week for officers and detectives with the Niagara Falls Police Department, as indicated by recent crime reports. In addition to the usual thefts, shoplifting, burglaries and vandalism, the week of January 26th has shown a significant pattern of increased gun related crimes reported within the City of Niagara Falls.
It is well known that Niagara Falls is considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, ranking 3 out of 100 on crime reporting database websites. According to the most recent and fully vetted crime reporting data gathered from over 17,000 Law Enforcement Agencies in the United States, the likelihood of becoming a victim to violent crimes such as murder, rape or assault in Niagara Falls is 1 in 83, per 1000 residents. The chances of becoming a victim of less serious crime such as burglary, theft and vandalism is even more likely, with data reflecting chances being 1 in 17.
What’s even more troubling is that, according to statistics, crimes per square mile in the city of Niagara Falls is 206, compared to the national average of 39.9. The State of New York falls just above the national average, with 45. This data gathered from neighborhoodscout.com reflect a 90 percent accuracy rating, and in conjunction with the city’s crime reports provided to the Niagara Falls Reporter by the city of Niagara Falls Police Department, we concur with these statistics.
According to interviews given by Mayor Dyster on WBEN regarding the City being the most dangerous in the State of New York, he doesn’t appear to agree with the statistics. In opposition of the City’s reputation he boasts, "Is there some violent crime in Niagara Falls? Yes, but it's mainly involved with drugs and gangs. If you're walking down the street, your chances of being a victim are exceedingly low." We at the Reporter have analyzed this data, in addition to week by week crime reports, and the term “exceedingly low” is what we would consider a gross under exaggeration.
A 1 in 17 chance of becoming a victim of crime in Niagara Falls is not “exceedingly low”, it is in fact, problematic and troublesome.
A Week of Shootings
In just four days this week, six reports involving gun related crimes within the City of Niagara Falls were reported, and there may have been more. With the information gathered from the Police Department’s crime blotter, victims have reported their homes being riddled with bullet holes from neighbors with guns, guns being stolen from vehicles, being robbed at gunpoint, and police recovering a gun found in an abandoned vehicle. Detailed reports of these incidents are as follows:
Bullets penetrate home
On January 25th, a woman on 4600 block of Hyde Park Blvd reported to Police that as she was watching TV in her living room, she heard a loud bang followed by yelling. As she was getting ready for church several hours later she observed two bullet holes in the drywall of her staircase and one bullet hole in her bedroom closet. A bullet was also found on a duffel bag in her closet. When police arrived on scene, they inspected the adjacent apartment and observed bullet holes through the walls of the apartment, leading to the victim’s bedroom closet and stairway. People at the scene were questioned, but no arrests were made.
Scared awake by gunfire
On January 29, Police responded to the 2000 block of Pierce Ave., where a man reported that he awoke to the sound of gunshots and his car alarm going off. He went down to his locked garage to inspect his vehicle, and observed the window smashed out of his vehicle. After going back inside of his residence, he noticed a bullet hole in his second floor bathroom window. Officers on scene observed a bullet hole through the garage door, three panes of glass leading to the bathroom, and a bullet hole above the victim’s bathtub where the round entered. No projectiles were recovered at the scene.
Flubbed Armed Robbery
On January 26, Police responded to the 7-11 convenience store on Niagara St., in reference to an armed robbery. According to reports, a black male wearing a dark coat and face mask entered the store and brandished a handgun, demanding money from the clerk. He pointed the gun in the clerk’s face, at which point the clerk observed the suspect’s hand gun to be jammed. The clerk pointed out to the suspect that his gun was jammed, and told him to leave the store. The suspect fled the scene.
Thieves stole pistol
On January 26th, a man reported to Police that unknown suspects broke into his vehicle, which was parked in front of his house on 22nd street. The suspect(s) stole the victim’s wallet containing his pistol permit, in addition to his Glock 30 .45 caliber handgun, both of which were located inside of his locked vehicle’s glove compartment and middle console. The gun had not been recovered at the time of this report.
On January 27th, Police observed a vehicle traveling recklessly in the area of Whitney and Pierce Ave, with three occupants. Police followed the vehicle, but due to poor road conditions, did not initiate a traffic stop. Police followed the vehicle, but lost sight in the area of 22nd street. As the officer was heading down South Ave., he observed the vehicle again, traveling at a much slower speed, with the driver’s side door open. The officer approached the vehicle, in which all occupants had bailed out prior to his arrival. Laying on the driver’s side seat was a camouflage handgun, loaded with one bullet in the chamber and 11 bullets in the magazine. The handgun was described as a Sig model P250.
Ransacked, stole loaded Magnum
On January 26, Police responded to 77th St., in reference to a stolen shotgun. The victim reported that unknown suspects broke into his unoccupied home through a back window, ransacked the rooms, and stole his 12 gauge shotgun which was located in the living room, in addition to ammunition. The shotgun was described as being an 870 express Magnum, loaded with a birdshot. (a Birdshot consists of several metal spheres packed together into a shell. When the shell is fired, it separates, allowing the birdshot to fly out and separate into smaller pellets in a wider range, injuring intended target)
Dyster in denial?
As you can tell from these reports, the apparent rise in gun related crime is surging. Residents and business owners of Niagara Falls are enduring perilous acts of violence at the hands of thugs, and it seems that with Dyster’s continuous denial of the dangerous conditions within the city, things will not improve. How can a leader begin to make changes within a community, if he himself refutes data proving the problem even exists?