Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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July 6, 2014

Spalding Street family intent on creating community

Spalding Street couple determined to establish community in neighborhood saddled with a bad reputation

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “We moved out to the Lockport area, when our family is mostly from the Amherst and Tonawanda area, because we found a great home in our price range, compared to the homes in other areas,” she said in an email. “Four years later, things didn’t seem like they were improving so we put our home on the market and it sold quickly. We took a small loss on the home just so we can get out of the area.”

The “Impact Zone” roughly describes the area bordered by Transit, Walnut, Erie and High streets in the city. Using roadblocks, increased police presence and stepped-up building inspections, declaring an “Impact Zone” was meant as a tactic to drive out the criminal element in the neighborhood. While the initiative has seen success, violent crime still infiltrates the area from time-to-time, as evidenced by a recent shooting on Spalding Street in June. 

While the official “Impact Zone” ended last year, officials still keep an eye on the area, Eggert said. One result of the increased enforcement of the area is that it pushed crime to other parts of the city, Eggert said. 

“One of the unintended consequences is that there is some spreading out,” he said. “Our goal was to make the area inhospitable to the criminal element, which I think we did.”

Specific statistics are no longer kept on the “Impact Zone,” said Lockport Police Community Liaison Mark Sanders.

Due to several violent incidents involving guns since the end of May, the city and the police department held a community meeting on June 24 to address resident’s concerns and inform them on what the department is doing to crackdown on crime in the city. 

The best way to reduce crime in the city, no matter the neighborhood, is to cooperate with police when an incident occurs, Eggert stressed at the community meeting. Police have had difficulty finding witnesses and victims willing to come forward, including a shooting victim in June who refused to give any information on how or where he was shot. 

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