LOCKPORT – There were relatively few arrests during the first two weeks of the city’s “impact zone” crackdown in the area of Washburn and Genesee streets, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert said.
Totals from the reports for the first two weeks of the program showed 19 arrests, mostly on minor charges, and six drug arrests. In the week that ended Thursday, there were only two drug arrests, both for marijuana possession.
“Not really surprised on the low drug arrests. The publicity has them running for cover,” Eggert said in a recent email to The Buffalo News. “We spoke to a few prisoners last week arrested for other charges and they tell us that the word is out on our operation.”
“It’s really kind of quiet down there,” Mayor Michael W. Tucker said during Wednesday’s Common Council work session. “Everybody is being quiet and going underground.”
Tucker announced the impact zone program Jan. 18, in the wake of a still-unsolved Jan. 3 shooting of a man outside a Washburn Street gas station.
It called for heavy police and building inspection operations in a run-down area of the city centered on the corner of Washburn and Genesee – where drug dealing and other trouble has been so common for at least 20 years that a Lockport public affairs website used to refer to it as the Crime District, with capital letters, as if it were a proper name.
Things were flaring up again in late 2012, with the number of police calls in the neighborhood rising 27 percent above the totals for November and December 2011.
The crackdown involves all types of police work. On Wednesday, a roadblock on Washburn resulted in 30 vehicle and traffic citations. In all, there have been 156 traffic stops during the first two weeks of the impact zone. And 129 parking tickets were issued in the impact zone during the first two weeks.
Warrants for previous crimes also have been executed steadily – 27 of them in the two-week period, with 10 people apprehended.