Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A community meeting held by the Lockport Police Department Tuesday night brought out a diverse group of approximately 50 residents, some of whom voiced concerns on the current state of safety in the city.
The meeting was held in response to an uptick in violent crimes in the city over the last three or four months, said Police Chief Larry Eggert. Topics ranged from the "impact zone" to possible gang related issues to slumlords in the city. Eggert said he was surprised by how many residents attended the meeting.
"This was great," he said. "I'm impressed by the turnout."
Lockport Police Community Liaison Mark Sanders started the meeting off, introducing several politicians who attended the meeting from the City Council and Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey.
Eggert was introduced by Sanders to applause from the meeting attendees.
"That was a good start," he said. "No boos."
While meant to provide information to the public on what's happening in the city in terms of crime, the meeting was also being held to elicit ideas from city residents, Eggert said.
"This is not going to fall on deaf ears," he said.
The biggest obstacle to policing in Lockport right now is a lack of cooperation from witnesses and victims, Eggert said. Police have received little or no cooperation on several recent incidents, including a shooting victim who barely told police his name.
"We need the community's help to solve some of these problems," he said. "If there is one message I can give you tonight to go out and be our messengers, it's please tell people to talk to us."
Eggert also addressed fears residents may have with the recent rash of violent crimes in the city.
"Even though there is a perception that Lockport is a dangerous community, it really isn't," he said, noting that most of the incidents involve people who are familiar with each other. "Don't think that you have to keep your kids off the street and that there will be random drive-by shootings. That's not what's happening."