The Only Advertisement You Will Ever See On This Site!

Jackson's Computer Services

Let The Wife Take Care Of Your Computer Needs







June 4, 2007


Published in The Daily Gazette , May 25, 2007

Council eyes gun violence solutions

BY MARY MARTIALAY Gazette Reporter

So far this month, there haven't been any murders in the city. Alderman Dominick Calsolaro thinks there have been five injuries from gunfire, but he's basing his information on newspaper accounts. He also doesn't know how many people may have been threatened, pistol-whipped, mugged at gunpoint, or how many "shots fired" reports have been confirmed by pohce.

That, he said, is part of the problem.

"I think there have been 17 people injured since January from gunshots. But I only have that from the paper. I don't know how many there really are," Calsolaro said. Although the Albany police department posts many crime statistics on its Web site, such incidents are not included in the data.

Calsolaro introduced legislation this week that would require Albany police to provide the Common Council with quarterly reports on gun-related incidents in the city. The legislation was referred to the council's Public Safety Committee where it joins another of Calsolaro's causes: a gun violence task force.

"I've had many people come to me saying they want to be involved, they want to do something," Calsolaro said. "They need to get their hands on something and I thought this was a way to have an organized group where people could come and talk to the issue and for civilians to see a different perspective for law enforcement."

At Calsolaro's behest, several city and area residents appeared at this week's Common Council meeting to support the legislation, while Calsolaro made an appeal before the entire board for its release from committee.

Calsolaro said the Public Safety Committee, headed by chairman James Scalzo, has dragged its heels on his initiatives because the city's mayor and police chief don't support the legislation.

Scalzo contested Calsolaro's assertion, saying the delay is simply a part of the legislative process.

"Dominick is completely out of line saying that," Scalzo said.

"I've bent over backwards trying to negotiate, had meetings to do amendments to his good work."

Scalzo said his own legislation has takeni2ugerto~emerge from committee.

"He does have good ideas, and we're looking forward to doing good work with him, the mayor and the chief of police, Scalzo said.

'We can expect in the next month or two to hear about this in a public and open meeting," he said.

Mayor Gerald Jennings could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman said the mayor "is extremely cognizant of the issus associated with illegal guns and resulting gun violence," he said.

"In concert with Police Chief Tuffey and in his role as member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns task force, there is an evaluation of exusting legislation coupled with an additional evaluation of strategies that will bc targeted specifically to address this issue," said Robert VanAmburgh, of the mayor's office.

Police Chief James Tuffey questions whether Calsolaro's initiatives hit the heart of the matter, but said his department will participate in whatever mechanism the council creates.

"If that law is passed we'll participate. I think it needs to be broader—violence as a whole," Tuffey said. "But if he tears into this we'll sit at the table, we'll give 110 percent effort."

Tuffey said gun violence is just one manifestation of a societal problem that needs a broader solution.

Tuffey said "in five years it's going to be worse if we don't look at the societal breakdown and the core problem that's causing these kids to go out and commit these acts."

Tuffey said he doesn't see how that problem can be solved by a gun violence task force.

"Everyone wants a short-term solution, especially politicians. There's no short-term solutions to the societal problems we're having in this country now," Tuffey said.

Tuffey said few people realize the work his department puts into tracking trends in crime and making connections between seemingly disparate crimes.

"We're working very hard, these officers work very hard," Tuffey said.

Calsolaro said he's not criticizing police but wants to broaden the players in the discussion.

"If it's a societal issue, why not involve the community?" Calsolaro said. '~Ve know its a societal problem, we know its more than guns why not involve the community and give people a vehicle to discuss it?"

Supporters ofthe legislation echo Calsolaro's call for more community involvement in the problems of gun violence.

"The community needs to come together and assert that there is no way this can be totally solved by law enforcement," said Leonard Morgenbesser, who holds a doctorate in criminal justice. He has tracked media reports of gun violence in the city since September 2002.

"I don't think there's anyone who lives in this city who hasn't picked up the paper and read about gun violence, or in my case, attended the funeral of someone young," said Archie Goodbee, a resident of Madison Avenue.



This site maintained by Lynne Jackson of Jackson's Computer Services.