UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) – Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon announced that $50,000 from the New York State Assembly budget will be allocated to Oneida County to be used towards crime prevention efforts.
Buttenschon was joined by the county’s District Attorney, the Utica mayor, local law enforcement and community leaders at a press conference Thursday morning to share this announcement. Of all who spoke, the idea of community support was consistent.
“We need the help of the community,” said Scott McNamara, the Oneida County District Attorney. “We need the help of the community that is being decimated by this type of crime, and until we can get that help we can’t really suppress it.”
“I don’t want any more homicides,” added Mayor Robert Palmieri. “I don’t want anymore senseless shootings. I don’t want to hear any longer a 14 year old or a 15 year old are out there with guns. This is everyone coming together, and as I think the D.A. said, things have changed. Tactics have to change, and we are going to change with it.”
Oneida County Chief Deputy Jonathan Owens shared the sentiment saying, “You as a community, if you don’t feel safe in your own homes then we all lose.”
The funds from the state assembly will be used to make the community safer after a recent rise in gun violence. The district attorney’s office hopes to see the money go towards their bullet to body program, partnering with community members, installing more pole cameras, and enhancing and expanding Utica’s forensic unit that analyzes cell phones.
Utica Police Chief, Mark Williams, said, “One of the most important things we need to solve a lot of these cases is technology. Unfortunately, we’re not getting a lot of witness cooperation. I understand fear is part of the equation why, but we’re also dealing with a street code out there; a street code that says don’t cooperate with the police and get their own street revenge and that can’t happen.”
Patrick Johnson who serves as a community liaison in Utica was present at today’s event and noted that the issue of gun violence is disproportionately impacting minorities. He said, “Gun violence in this particular situation right now in this climate is not affecting more people any other than the African American and Black and Latino communities, so this is an invitation. It is a friendly and yet intentional invitation for those communities to begin to be creative and to think about how they can support their own communities with reducing and ending gun violence.”
Assemblywoman Buttenschon says the assembly will continue to seek funds that will help reduce crime in the community.