LOCKPORT – Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert and other city officials met with residents of the city’s “impact zone” Thursday, as the third weekly report on the results of the crackdown showed there were almost as many arrests in the past week as in the previous two weeks of action.
The data showed 18 arrests since Jan. 31, after a total of 19 in the prior two weeks in the zone, bounded by South Transit, Erie, High and Walnut streets.
The arrests included one robbery, one grand larceny and one possession of stolen property. There were four drug arrests, three of them for marijuana possession.
In all, the 18 people arrested were charged with a total of 38 offenses.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker declared the impact zone Jan. 18 in the wake of two shootings and a spike in other crime in the area centered on Washburn Street.
The audience of about 30 in Refuge Temple on Cottage Street applauded when Eggert read the three-week totals: 37 arrests with a total of 82 charges, 255 traffic stops and 184 parking tickets.
Eggert said the city opted for publicity of its efforts so even the criminals would know what was happening.
“We could have gone in and arrested a lot of people for a couple of weeks and gotten it down quickly,” Eggert acknowledged.
He said people arrested have told police that the major drug dealers have moved out of the impact zone. That didn’t hurt Eggert’s feelings.
“Most of the people we’re dealing with, the serious, hardcore criminals, are from Rochester, Buffalo, Niagara Falls,” the police chief said.
He said there’s a chance that the criminals might move to other parts of Lockport but, as Tucker noted at the Jan. 18 news conference, the impact zone can move, as well.
“We’re going to start looking at other areas of the city,” Eggert said. “A month from now, it might be West Avenue or the north end.”
Eggert promised the audience that foot patrols, including some with the city’s police dog, will be seen when the weather moderates.
Many in the audience were landlords, who were promised by Pastor Mark Sanders of Refuge Temple, who also works for the police as a community liaison, that the police will hold a “landlord school” this spring to help them find legal ways to keep out bad tenants.
“We’ve lived through the drugs and the guns and the [federal Drug Enforcement Administration] breaking down doors,” said Linda Roth, who since 1996 has lived near the corner of Genesee and Locust streets. “That corner has cleaned up. I’m not seeing the guns and I’m not seeing the drugs that I did five years ago.”