SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – In September, two separate shootings happened on or near Clinton Street in Armory Square. These shootings have led police to implement new initiatives and have concerned businesses in the area.
“A gentleman had called 911 reporting he had been shot,” said Public Relations Officer Lieutenant Matthew Malinowski with the Syracuse Police Department. “Nothing to verify that; We’re still investigating that portion of the case, but he is expected to survive.”
Two shootings in a month sounds like a staggeringly large number for one city. However, police say shootings and crime have gone down significantly over the past year.
“Violent crime is actually down about 9% which you can see on our website,” said Lt. Malinowski. “When you look at our shots fired it’s about a 15% decline. And when you look at our shooting with injuries incidents it’s about a 40% decline. So, it’s a pretty substantial reduction in crime.”
Malinowski believes crime has declined partially because of the techniques and initiatives added over the past year.
“A lot of effort has gone into reducing gun violence,” said Lt. Malinowski. “From installing shot spotter and making sure we’re updating the cameras in or around downtown. We have the mayor’s office to reduce gun violence as well with Lateef Johnson-Kinsey. And we also go into neighborhoods and install cameras, lighting, and fences where it’s necessary.”
Crime may have decreased, but businesses like Funk ‘N Waffles still believe the shootings affect the number of patrons coming in every night.
“Yeah when I talk to people about this place, the first thing they usually say is ‘Oh it’s scary down there! There’s some shootings,” said Funk ‘N Waffles employee Joe Capobianco. “But like I’ve honestly become desensitized to it because it just happens so often that it doesn’t scare me anymore, but it definitely scares regular people that aren’t here every day.”
Funk ‘N Waffles has noticed a slight customer decline once the sun goes down. Currently, there’s no evidence to suggest the decline is because of the shootings, but employees believe the timing isn’t a coincidence.
“I definitely think people get nervous to come down here,” said Capobianco. “I don’t know the exact numbers, but since the shooting, I’ve noticed it’s a little slow.”
Although people may be fearful to head downtown, officers say the neighborhood is safe and patrons should take the correct safety measures to ensure they have a good time in Armory Square.
“You have a very small chance of something happening. But just those common-sense safety tips,” said Lt. Malinowski. “Travel with a friend. Stay in well-lit, populated areas. Obviously, have your phone. Be ready to call 911. And then again just being smart about your valuables and making sure you lock your car door and things like that.”
Since September there have been no further instances of gun violence in Armory Square. If you or someone you know sees something, say something to the local police immediately.