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City Residents Raise Safety Concerns

Nearly half the people in one Utica neighborhood say they are afraid to be outside after dark. The Cornhill Neighborhood Association got together Tuesday night to talk about crime that is keeping people who live there behind locked doors day and night.
Nearly half the people in one Utica neighborhood say they are afraid to be outside after dark. The Cornhill Neighborhood Association got together Tuesday night to talk about crime that is keeping people who live there behind locked doors day and night.
Survey says...safety is a huge concern. The Homeownership Center (HOC) started surveying households about a year ago. They sent out about 12 hundred surveys. Nearly half of the city residents, 47 percent, feel unsafe walking at night.
A small group came out to the Cornhill Neighborhood Association meeting anxious to hear the results of a center city survey. Survey conductors presented the data stressing how positive the feedback was on quality of life in the city, but some are not convinced
"I don't know a lot about statistics but I just want to hear it explained to me so I can be convinced that that really reflects what Utica is all about, I don't think it does,” says George Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald has lived in Utica his entire life and says this survey sample is too narrow to accurately portray the opinions of all city residents.
"I don't know how you can make any predictions of Utica based on a little small piece of land like that,” said Fitzgerald.
But others say they're pleased to hear such positive feedback from Uticans.
"I really was pleasantly surprised by the responses it wasn't a quick survey it was four pages long and it was quite intense," says Kelly Walters from South Utica.
"From 12 hundred questionnaires we actually got over 200 back which was really good especially for a grassroots campaign,” says Jeffrey D’Amore, COO of The Homeownership Center.
But one area of improvement even the most optimistic people couldn't dispute is nighttime safety and people want to see action.
"Whether its lighting, whether it’s having more activities so that people feel safer,” says Dianne Dimeo of South Utica.
"There are things that can be done but we don't seem to be doing them,” said Fitzgerald.
Utica police were at the meeting and say the safety concerns are noted and will be passed along.
"We ask for residents of the community to come together, voice their concerns, if they have any safety concerns, I then gather that information and pass it along to the department,” said Officer Maynard Anken of the Utica Police Department.
The survey results were given to the Mayor's office to analyze and make adjustments. Workers at The Homeownership Center say they plan to conduct another survey in three years.

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