NIAGARA FALLS, NY - Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) was in Niagara Falls on Tuesday to announce federal assistance to fight crime in the Cataract City.
Senator Schumer was joined by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Police Superintendent John Chella and Niagara Falls business leaders to unveil details of the new task force.
Federal experts will help the police department investigate and solve violent crimes and property thefts in Niagara Falls.
City officials will select several areas in the city where more resources are needed. The Department of Justice will study those areas and develop a unique strategy to deal with each.
The anti-crime task force in Niagara Falls will be one of only eight nationwide.
"They get the best techniques that have worked, they test them so they work, ...and then you adapt them (because) each city's pattern of crime is different," Schumer said.
Schumer expects national crime fighting experts to come to Niagara Falls within the next few months to meet with local police and begin the process of implementing best use practices.
There were 17,000 reported crimes in the last 5 years in Niagara falls, a city of roughly 50,000 residents.
Chella says his department is struggling to keep up, and welcomed the assistance.
"It's federal access to a wealth of knowledge....which will increase our base of knowledge tremendously," Chella said.
Most of that knowledge will be gleaned through the Department of Justice Diagnostic Center, which will provide the grant to allow for the extra crime fighting resources.
"I would like to see us use a different approach," said Roger Spurback, a Community Block Club Commissioner, who hopes the expertise will help crack down on property crimes against visitors in particular.
Spurback says doing so is essential in a city which hangs its economic hopes on tourism.
"Just one person could dissuade 100 others from coming here, if they go home and say they got robbed while visiting a tourist area like Niagara Falls," Spurback told WGRZ-TV.
However, improvements -if any- won't likely be seen overnight.
It'll be months before the feds begin their analysis of crime in the Falls, and many more before they can begin to analyze data, and recommend solutions based on what what's worked in other places.
Once they do that, there's also the process of seeking out the funding to implement any of the recommendations made.
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