THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM: Addressing Crime in Niagara Falls

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By:   Robert M. Restaino

Candidate for Mayor of NF

In recent days our city has experienced an increase in criminal activity all throughout the city. City Hall politicians have rushed to suggest all sorts of solutions just so they can be part of the story. None of the comments have taken account of the dismal financial situation of the city and how that situation contributes to the problem and can block or prevent viable solutions. Rather than engage in the same nonsense, I chose to speak with law enforcement professionals, the men and women trained in the tactics and techniques necessary to fight the current crime issue. 

Not surprisingly, I found that these professionals are prepared and have a plan. While it’s one thing to say crime statistics show a decrease in city crime, it is quite another to ignore the fact that, at this moment, the sense of safety in the city is challenged. Nevertheless, as I said before and will repeat, Niagara Falls is not the crime capital of the world – even if some City Hall politicians want to disagree or criticize me.

This week the city will announce the new 311 system for Niagara Falls. This will allow residents to find out about services, make a complaint or report other city issues. While this is a worthwhile endeavor it will not address the current problem, as some have suggested. In addition, it fails to address the fact that our city work force, across all departments, has been reduced due to a failure to practice fiscal responsibility and foster growth in our economy. This fiscal neglect has given rise to many of the problems we face today. 

As all of the City hall politicians are trying to grab a headline at the expense of the city, they are all ignoring the more difficult problem, one that is both profound and pervasive in our city, a problem that is at the core of so much that impacts Niagara Falls. With 1 out of 4 people in the city living at or below the poverty level and with 55% of our children 5 years of age and under living in poverty we simply cannot allow the failure to grow the economy to continue. 

The problem of poverty in our city impacts so much of our current difficulties and yet no one wants to address attacking poverty. That is why throughout my campaign I have repeatedly called for the need to expand our business opportunities and job creation. This requires cooperative efforts, as I have said, with the County of Niagara and our neighboring towns. What we don’t need are more obstacles and schemes to make it harder to do business in Niagara Falls.  

While it is true that our law enforcement personnel are faced with a current spike in criminal activity that they need to address for the sake of all of us, I am confident they will do so. But let’s remember that until we can deliver jobs and business growth we will continue to struggle. It is easy to fall victim to the “industry of poverty”. After all, it doesn’t take any effort, and it certainly doesn’t challenge City Hall politicians. If we really want to save and rebuild our city, so we can keep our city safe, fix our roads and protect our neighborhoods, we need to focus on growing our economy and increasing job opportunities. 

As I have said, Niagara Falls hasn’t failed, it just has not been given a chance to succeed. Join me in the effort and let’s work together to make Niagara Falls a city of which we can all be proud.       

 

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