ALBANY, NY -- Just weeks ago police tape marked the spot where SUNY
Albany student Richard Bailey was shot and killed. However, this
weekend, blocks away, Albany's neighborhood associations marked their
ninth annual conference by discussing ways to take city life in a
"Whatever we can do as neighbors to assist in the process, we have
to do that," said Albany Common Council Member Carolyn McLaughlin.
"It's an affirmation that people care," said
Albany Police Assistant Chief Anthony Bruno. "Everything from
litter on the street all the way to a homicide in their neighborhood.
These things matter to everyone."
Bruno demonstrated the department's mobile data
terminals which now sit in every patrol car. An officer can enter an
address and like magic all city information about the property, from
backed taxes to prior criminal activity, appears in one place.
"It also allows us to draw on these resources and these other
values that these other city departments can add to put pressure and get
things done," said Bruno.
"This is a quantum leap in the way information is being
reported," said Gene Solan, a conference organizer.
Residents said the next step should be using technology
to get the neighborhoods more involved.
"Rather than just say, well, let the cops do
it," said Solan. "No, this is our neighborhood and we have to
be part of the crime prevention team."
Bruno said a long term goal of the team is to create a
one stop shop where residents can address quality of life concerns.
"Including being able to file complaints and file
reports online," noted Bruno.
"Not just from 9 to 5 when the agency are
functioning but at 10 o'clock at night, at midnight," said Solan.
"That information is wanted, something is going to happen with it.
So I think it's a very hopeful message and the 29 neighborhood
associations are going to take the message back to their blocks and
their streets and it should result in an invigoration of interest in
dealing with so many of those problems."
The police department said there is an email address
already set up for residents to report quality of life concerns. That
address is firstname.lastname@example.org.