Niagara Falls not only has the highest rates of violent and property crime of any city in New York state, our fair city ranks 51st nationwide as the most crime-ridden hellhole in the entire country. That's according to statistics compiled by the FBI and analyzed by CityRating.com, a company that provides a wide range of information about communities throughout the country as a service for those seeking to relocate.
The city's violent crime rate for Niagara Falls in 2009 was higher than the national violent crime rate average by 178.6 percent, and the city property crime rate in Niagara Falls was higher than the national property crime rate average by 84.2 percent, the report states.
And the violent crime rate in Niagara Falls was higher than the violent crime rate in New York state by 211 percent, while the city property crime rate in Niagara Falls was higher than the property crime rate statewide by 189 percent, according to the report.
That's right, your chances of being murdered, raped, assaulted or robbed are higher in Niagara Falls than in such notorious towns as Newark or Paterson, N.J.; Youngstown, Ohio; Kansas City, Mo.; Chicago or Houston.
The percentages are based on population in blocks of 1,000 people, but any way you add it up, it doesn't look good for our fair city.
Though many of them can't read this newspaper, this will certainly come as shocking news to those brain-dead devotees of Paul Dyster, as our silver-tongued mayor has gone to great lengths to conceal the shocking magnitude of the crime problem here.
"The word is out. If you insist on terrorizing the law-abiding citizens of Niagara Falls, we will find you and we will bring you to justice," Dyster said in his recent State of the City speech.
"From neighborhood substations to community policing to grant programs to cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, we're taking the fight to the bad guys and making Niagara Falls a safer place," he added.
He should try telling that to the one out of every 82 people in the city who will become a victim of violent crime this year. Throughout the rest of New York, including New York City, the chances are one in 255.
Or maybe he should tell it to the one out of every 17 people whose homes are burglarized, vehicles stolen, or who are robbed in some other way this year. Statewide, people living in safer communities suffer property crimes at the rate of one out of every 51 people.
State Sen. George Maziarz says the crime problem in Niagara Falls has reached epidemic proportions under the Dyster regime.
"When you've got the highest crime rate in the state, and rank 51st out of hundreds and hundreds of cities across the entire country in all types of crime, you've got a serious problem," Maziarz said. "How can you attract people to a community where they have legitimate concerns about their own families' safety?"
Maziarz said Dyster has successfully managed to conceal important information, not only on the crime epidemic, but on the city's desperate financial condition and other important matters as well.
"He's the king of the cover-up, the duke of deception," he said.
City Councilman Bob Anderson has called for putting more cops on the streets for years now, and says that the horrendous crime rates the city now faces are a direct result of Dyster ignoring those calls.
"You've got to be blind not to see how dangerous our streets have become," Anderson said. "When something goes down, we have to call in the state police, the sheriff's department, the park rangers and everybody else to get it under control."
Anderson pointed out that crime in Niagara Falls is no longer limited to a few "bad" areas, but is a citywide problem. His view is borne out by the FBI statistics, which show that 116 crimes of all kinds occur per square mile here over a year, as opposed to 27 crimes per square mile for the rest of New York and 39.3 for the nation as a whole.
Dyster has been no friend of the police during his term in office, signing a consent decree that all but admitted that city cops are racist, and assigning badly needed officers to prosaic duties such as acting as bodyguards for himself and members of his administration, or presiding over the signing of a guest book by visitors to City Hall.
Rank-and-file cops say the mayor's interest in law enforcement begins and ends with the opportunity any given arrest affords him to appear on television.
That's why you'll hear him weigh in on high-profile federal cases, like the recent imprisonment of plumbing contractor John Gross on tax evasion charges, and not utter a peep when a resident of the upscale Jefferson Apartments is beaten and choked to death in his own living room by a killer the police still haven't managed to find.
In a city awash in thousands of illegal weapons and millions of dollars in drug money, Dyster recently patted himself on the back for spearheading a minor operation that barely made a dent.
"We went after illegal gun distribution and possession, resulting in the seizure of 47 weapons, $75,000 worth of illegal drugs, and almost $10,000 in cash," he told the television cameras. And all across Niagara Falls, a thousand heavily armed and well-funded dope dealers laughed out loud.
Is it fair to blame Paul Dyster for the mayhem and violence that has plagued Niagara Falls since he took office more than four years ago?
Not really. He's as clueless about fighting crime as he is about a lot of things.
But the fact remains. Niagara Falls is a dangerous place, one of the most dangerous places in the entire country. Crime is completely out of control, and without added manpower and better management, the brave men and women of the city police have their hands largely tied.
Perhaps if the mayor ventured out of his house late one night, took a walk down Main Street and then checked out a couple of blocks along Pierce Avenue, right near to where the $80 million police station and courthouse is located, he could experience for himself the level of safety his administration is providing our citizens.
|Niagara Falls Reporter||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||April 10 2012|