Whether you feel our streets are overrun with crime or this recent spike in violence is a fluke, the question of "what to do?" remains. Mayor Matt Driscoll and Chief of Police Gary Miguel have both been vocal in the last weeks about their concerns for 2008's record-breaking crime statistics, and that ringing in a new year did nothing to slow down the wave of homicides.
But over the press releases, public appearances and assurances that the city of Syracuse finds this latest trend unacceptable, residents hear gunshots and ambulance sirens -- not solutions. As the city and Syracuse Police Department accept a federal grant for Operation Impact, citizens criticize the overuse of specialized task forces and wonder loudly what specifically their leaders intend to do about the violence.
Last week, Common Council President Bea Gonzalez and District 2 Councilor Pat Hogan weighed in with the City Eagle on why this is happening, who is to blame, and what should be done about it.
Stay tuned in coming weeks for additional perspectives.
Bea Gonzalez, Common Council president
QWhat is your personal reaction to the increased violence of 2008 and continued into 2009?
AGonzalez, who grew up in Syracuse, has seen the trends come and go, including violence and crime. "It's prevention and suppression, and so how do you do all of that?"
QDoes this situation warrant a different method of policing?
A"I'm really interested in policing models that are community-based. Where there's decision making doesn't necessarily always start at the top and work it's way down I think Chief Miguel, he likes special units, it's what he's comfortable with and they've worked with some respect but I'd like to see situation where each of the quadrants of the city has a similar set of resources at it's disposal."
QWhat has caused such a boom in the violence? Do you see similarities (socially, economically, politically) to the city in 2002 when we experienced a similar increase?