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Street violence raising concerns throughout the area

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The endless violence on local streets is driving people to action, in the city and suburbs. The issue brought a diverse constituency to Merriweather Library Wednesday night.

The summit on street violence kicked off with the singing of "Lift Every Voice."

Many of the people in the library have long experience with street violence and body counts, with one anti-violence leader saying he had been to three funerals in five days recently.

This was different from many similar events, partially because the room was packed but also because there were suburban police chiefs present as the issues have spilled across the Buffalo city line.

"Our crime has changed in town, considerably," said Cheektowaga Police Chief Dave Zack .

"When I first got on this job 27 years ago, there were parts of our town still considered rural. That's not the case. I mean, Losson Road was still being developed at that point. Just the overall makeup of our town has changed drastically."

Town police recently had to grapple with the murder of a city resident playing basketball in the Town Park, killed by a stray bullet.

The Buffalo Police Department had no presence at Merriweather Library Wednesday night. Organizers said an invitation was extended.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.