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Mobile Command Center focuses on West Side

Thomas O'Neil-White

A big white Buffalo police van sat at the corner of West Delavan Avenue and Congress Street on Thursday. Police Chief Byron Lockwood and Mayor Byron Brown temporarily moved their offices there for the day to hear concerns from city residents.

Brown said it was a great way to be more accessible to folks in neighborhoods around the city.

“They don’t have to go to police headquarters on Court Street,” Brown said. “They don’t have to come to City Hall. They can see us right out in the neighborhood.”

There are numerous concerns about crime in the neighborhood surrounding Grant Street. Congress Street residents say they see drug users and prostitutes at all times of the day.

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Normal Avenue Block Club President Tom Somerville said he’s witnessed the years of deterioration in this part of the West Side, yet remains confident the area will turn around.

“I’m an old time West-sider,” he said. “This is my West Side and I’d like to see it thrive again like it used to, and there’s no reason why it can’t.”

As a Block Club President, Somerville believes block clubs should be working together in doing their part to improve the city.

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Last month the Mobile Command Center came to Theodore and Block Streets on the City’s East Side. Brown said there will be follow-up by officers and officials for every neighborhood the Mobile Command Center goes to.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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