Frustration over Albany violence, flash flooding, Schenectady fireworks problems persist, lost in the woods

Flare up of violence in Albany
Officials, community leaders, and residents say they're concerned, frustrated, and baffled by the rash of shootings and other violence in Albany on July 4 that left one person dead and multiple injured. [TU]

Flash floods
+ The storm that dropped multiple inches of rain on parts of the city of Albany and Bethlehem Thursday caused flash flooding at many locations. [AOA] [WNYT] [TU]
+ Albany water department commissioner Joe Coffey to Spectrum: "This is a rain event that doesn't happen that often and when it happens, the pipes simply can't handle that kind of water in that short period of time." [Spectrum]

Albany fire chief
The Sheehan administration announced Friday morning that fire chief Warren Abriel Jr will be retiring July 28, and Kathy Sheehan will be announcing a new chief in the future. [City of Albany press release]

SUMMER Theatresports AOA 525 x 80.jpg


Albany murder conviction dismissed
A state appeals court has dismissed the murder conviction of a man prosecutors say was a lookout and driver for a fatal shooting outside a bar on Washington Ave in Albany in 2013. [TU]

Fatal hit-and-run retrial
A state appeals court has a ordered a retrial for the woman found guilty of leaving the scene of a 2015 fatal hit-and-run in Halfmoon without reporting it -- the appeals court ruled the Saratoga County court erred in not declaring a mistrial after a pretrial ruling barring references to the woman's desire to speak with an attorney was violated multiple times. [TU]

Untaxed tobacco
The state Department of Taxation and Finance says a Niskayuna woman is facing charges she was allegedly found to have
more than 11,000 untaxed cigars and 1,400 pounds of untaxed loose tobacco. [NYS Department of Taxation and Finance]

Kaloyeros trial
An overview of the Alain Kaloyeros trial so far and the various angles involving the Cuomo admin. [NYT]

Gubernatorial election
+ A quick look at how Cynthia Nixon and Marc Molinaro are proposing to approach the state budget. [Spectrum]

Chuck Schumer
+ A look at the challenge ahead for Chuck Schumer as Senate minority leader as the fight over the Trump Supreme Court pick ramps up. [Politico]
+ Schumer was at Quad/Graphics in Saratoga Springs Thursday to criticize the effect the Trump trade war is having on paper prices and, in turn, businesses that rely on paper such as Quad and newspapers. Schumer called the tariff fight with Canada "goofy." [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Schenectady fireworks
Schenectady neighborhood leaders say the city's new fireworks fine didn't appear to have an effect on the number of people shooting off fireworks. The president of the Mont Pleasant Neighborhood Association to the Daily Gazette: "I swear, I was in a war zone." [TU] [Daily Gazette]

Utility-scale battery
An Albany-based company is proposed to build a 20 megawatt utility-scale battery facility in Stillwater to smooth out supply and demand on the power grid. [Daily Gazette]

Albany summer youth employment program
Albany's summer youth employment program has registered 1,125 participants this season, a record high. [TU]

Lost in the woods
A Colonie man with an autism spectrum disorder credited his Boy Scout training -- he was an Eagle Scout -- helping him stay safe while lost in the Adirondacks. [TU]

Stuff to do this weekend

Check out the big list of things to do this weekend around the Capital Region.


"This is a rain event that doesn't happen that often..." Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't this happen last year?

Concerned and frustrated perhaps, but only the willfully ignorant are baffled.

Since we have combined sewer and storm drains, it's a problem, but there are small fixes and bigger fixes...small: set up a rain barrel for your house...yes, even diverting the rain from your roof counts....ia half an inch on a 20 x 15 roof is 94 gallons (calculate here: The bigger fixes include shopping plazas adding green roofs or cisterns

I would like to weigh in on the recent rash of violence Albany has been experiencing. I have two main points: first, overall crime is down to less than half of what it was in the early 90s and second, public perception of violence is not an accurate measurement of actual violence.

At a peak in 1994, Albany PD received 8,648 reported crimes, both violent and property. In 2017, Albany PD received 4,275 reported crimes (approximately). With the exception of murder (Albany PD received, on average, 7 reported murders every year), every crime category is down and has been trending downward for a while. I would wager that 2018 will be no different - crimes trending downward or about average for recent years.

With respect to public perception of violence, I would point to two interesting observances. First, in examining “Broken Windows Policing”, where officers perform more foot patrols in neighborhoods and pursue even small offenses, the public reported feeling safer, as if crime were down, when in reality crime levels had not changed (this was from the ‘84 report on Broken Windows Policing, when the practice was established). Second, Steven Pinker, a psychologist at Harvard University, has written a bit about public perception of violence. He asserts that recent violent events tend to get played up in our own memory, which would lead to someone believing that crime is up when in reality it is not.

To conclude, I would say that Albany is safer than it has been in recent memory, and that the recent “uptick” in violence is not indicative of a lasting upward trend requiring additional public resources to address.

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