October 21, 2014

City’s crime troubles have some residents wary

CortlandJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Kathleen Tavarone, of Jewett Avenue, shown outside her house Monday, said the area’s rising number of meth-related incidents is an issue, but believes police are working to address the drug problem.

Staff Reporter

Julie Porter, 47, won’t let her 17-year-old daughter walk to a friend’s house one-tenth of a mile away from their house on Hyatt Street at night. She also watches the kids on her street because one never knows who might come walking down the road, she said Monday.
Porter and some other city residents asked about their reaction to recent events say the growing role crime and drugs are playing in the community concerns them. Some say the city has changed over the last few years, and Porter said conditions have deteriorated from when she grew up in the city.
On Oct. 7 a city resident, Jayquan S. Hines, 29, was found on Pine Streetlying under a truck and badly beaten. He died Oct. 14 at University Hospital in Syracuse. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, city police officials have said.
Drug problems have been increasing in the area as well.
Lisa Cutia, director of the Cortland County Probation Department, told the county Legislature’s Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on Oct. 9 that the county leads the state in the number ofmethamphetamine laboratory-related incidents.
Of the 152 laboratory incidents statewide accounted for at the end of September, there have been 29 in Cortland County compared to eight cases in 2013 and 2012, she said.
Porter said she knows the police are doing all they can to deal with these issues but said she and other residents are afraid to speak about the problems of drugs and crime in the community due to the fear of retaliation.
“It’s a scary issue; you don’t know what can happen,” she said. “Your house can be vandalized or worse. You just never know.”
Chris Clink, who lives on Hubbard Street, said the growing meth problem makes him concerned for his 3-year-old son. Clink has lived in the city since last November, and it seems like within the last year, the drug problems from Syracuse are moving into Cortland, he said.
Clink said he would like to see more police presence throughout the city, as well as the city creating its own drug task force instead of just partnering with the county’s team.
City police Lt. Richard Troyer said Monday afternoon that the city has a detective who investigates drug crimes in the city and works with the drug task force for the county. The two agencies cooperate on drug cases, he said.
“We do what we can do; we have officers out there that are doing the best they can,” he said. “When crime comes in, we investigate it fully ... there is crime all over. We do the best wecan do.”
Kathleen Tavarone, who lives on Jewett Avenue, said she thinks the rising number of meth-related incidents, while bad in showing a problem in the area, is good at the same time because it shows the police are working diligently on the issue.
Tavarone said she believes the police recognize local citizens do not want this drug problem here and are taking the issue seriously.
“I feel very good about their efforts, extremely positive about the efforts they are making,” she said.

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