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New Buffalo Police Housing unit

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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New Buffalo Police Housing Unit to patrol public housing

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-909015.mp3

Buffalo, NY – A new unit of the Buffalo Police Department is now patrolling public housing throughout the City. 21-city police officers are now assigned to focus on public safety in and around Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority property.

With nearly 12,000 people living in public housing in Buffalo, the city decided to step up police protection. This new police unit began its work June 9th. Buffalo cops assigned to the unit will concentrate on fighting crime at all 27 BMHA complexes. Officers are working out of the Perry Street Housing complex.

There have been 75-arrests since the Police Housing unit began its work earlier this month. Now back in 2004, the Housing Authority eliminated its police force. But crimes involving drugs, guns and gangs has escalated in the City. Police Officer Guy Zagara noted that housing units attract specific crimes, such as drug dealing.

But some city lawmakers have been critical of the shift of police to the housing unit. Common Council members fear it will effect other neighborhood police patrols. Acting Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said it will not effect police manpower levels.

122 surveillance cameras will also be installed by the BMHA. They will be integrated with the city's surveillance cameras. The Mayor says the new police housing unit is intended to extend the footprint of the Buffalo Police Department to keep neighborhoods safe.