After a string of shootings in Troy, police are asking for, and receiving, help from the community. YNN's Geoff Redick reports.
TROY, N.Y. -- There have been many famous quotes about fear, and how to deal with it, embrace it, or ignore it.
The Troy Police Department is imploring residents to forego their fears, and come forward to speak with police.
"One of the most prevalent problems we see now, is that even our victims are refusing to work with us," said Troy Police Captain John Cooney on Saturday. He took time especially to speak to local media, talking about the recent string of violence in North Central Troy: five shootings in the span of a few weeks, leaving one person injured and several houses riddled with bullet holes.
"Without the cooperation of citizens, we are really in a tough spot, as far as solving these crimes," said Cooney. The department has had trouble gaining leads on just who is firing the guns, though they are sure the activity is not related to gangs.
"It seems to be small groups, all locals," according to Cooney's analysis. "They're all people who should be proud of their community, rather than working to destroy their community."
However, North Central will not be torn apart if a band of nearly one dozen citizens and community leaders have anything to say about it. The group met and invited others to join Saturday for a campaign to actively engage themselves in neighborhood observance, and report any suspicious activity to police.
"As long as we silently sit by, and act like we don't see the drug deal, and act like we don't see someone's car being busted up, and act like our neighbor doesn't matter...then these are the type of things that happen," spoke Anastasia Robertson. She is a Democrat candidate for Troy City Council, and helped sponsor Saturday's event with local pastors and anti-violence groups.
Event visitors wrote suggestions on two large pieces of paper, one sheet identifying problems in the city, and the other listing their potential solutions. Residents wrote obvious problems like "people getting shot," or "abandoned buildings." Solutions ranged from block parties to maintaining safe playgrounds for children.
"It hurts every neighborhood, when one of them is where the gun violence happens," said Nora McDowell, the wife of another City Councilman who actually lives in downtown. "Because (the violence) goes into other neighborhoods. It doesn't stop!"
Another man participating in the event, Robert Van Den Berg, says his Dutch ancestry in Troy dates back to settlers in the 1600's. Now, his siblings and children have either left, or are preparing to go.
"My son just moved to Massachusetts. He's 24-years-old, he doesn't want to be around here for the same reason (the reputation for violence)," says Van Den Berg. "My 16-year-old daughter wants to go, too. She's going to graduate from my alma mater. It's sad."
Police say the community involvement Saturday was encouraging. Their efforts will also be bolstered by a $31,000 grant from the federal government, announced on Tuesday. More officers and detectives will be dedicated to overtime work, in an effort to solve investigations into the recent shootings.