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Crime maps highlight promise in Buffalo neighborhood

Tracking crime in troubled neighborhoods is becoming a high-tech endeavor. New mapping software is helping to identify the best places to live and those sections where troubles tend to emerge.

When Buffalo Promise Neighborhood held a recent public meeting to talk about crime in the University-area community, some leaders spoke of concerns that crime would drive people out of the area. Those attending the meeting received brochures which showed crime wasn't widespread across the neighborhood, but was located in particular "hot spots."

Using crime records and the latest in computer software, the report listed problem areas like Rounds from Suffolk to Eggert for violent crimes.

"For the most part, violent crime, the majority of it actually, happens in less than 20 percent of the whole area," said UB Research Institute Research Assistant Professor Bart Roberts.

"The majority of shootings are limited to less than even ten-percent of that area. Same with calls people are making related to gangs and drugs to 9-1-1."

Roberts says the data can be used to spot a problem which needs to be understood. That's why Buffalo Promise Neighborhood and partners are trying to figure out why so much crime occurs around corner delis. Half of 9-1-1 calls of gangs and drugs originated near corner stores.

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.