No rest for law-abiding Schenectady citizen

Friday, October 12, 2012
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It’s hard not to sympathize with Schenectady resident Joseph Rodriguez, whose solution to a prostitute problem at the Vale Park end of Moyston Street — erecting a stockade fence to keep the women’s bedrooms-on-wheels from parking in the vacant lot next to his house — was apparently illegal. Now that the city has forced him to remove the fence, he’s once again being woken up in the middle of the night by the sounds of the working women and their johns. This is not the way government should function.

Rodriguez says that code enforcement officers told him they’d rectify the problem by putting concrete barricades along the property, which the city took through foreclosure in late August; that would serve the same function as his fence, keeping the prostitutes from pulling into the lot, without violating the zoning ordinance pertaining to tall fences along sidewalks. Not surprisingly, the promise hasn’t been kept.

Mayor Gary McCarthy’s solution, to have police enforce the laws against prostitution, is the right one — in theory. But in practice most Schenectady residents know what happens when you report such crimes to police: not much. And if, by chance, they do respond in timely fashion on one occasion, they can’t be counted on to do it a second time. The police department’s inconsistent response is why Rodriguez put up the fence in the first place.

The city should make good on its promise to Rodriguez and erect the promised barriers. And while that will provide a practical solution to his problem, it can also be expected to create one for somebody else — wherever the prostitutes wind up. Perhaps then the mayor can persuade police to address the problem with a more sustained enforcement effort.

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October 12, 2012
7:27 a.m.

A prime example of mismanagement from the administration. When you have an exiting police chief asking for more sergeants to keep and eye on the patrol officers we have...there is a problem. All quality of life problems need to be addressed...If NYC can do it...Little NYC (Schenectady) can do it.....It is management and it starts and ends with The Mayor!

October 12, 2012
11:16 a.m.
safny says...

This is just another of the quality of life issues that the city government is unable or unwilling to address. If you call the police about certain issues like this - they will not be there in 5 - 10 minutes to catch these people in the act. It's not unlike the problems with abandoned buildings where people are squatting, using drugs and committing prostitution. Unlicensed and loose dogs. These are the types of issues that cause people to leave a city. The taxes go up and the quality of life gets worse instead of better. NYC did make great strides in addressing many of these issues. They have a number - 311 - for people to call so that they don't tie up 911. Your complaint is directed to the correct agency if it is not the police. Something has to change here before it becomes the high tax/low quality capital of New York.

October 12, 2012
11:19 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Where would you idiots at the Gazette like to get the Police to do this? As I have stated dozens of time, according to the NYSDOJ Schenectady has more per capita crime than Albany with more than 100 less officers. Get rid of the 4 asst. chiefs plus a chief and a commissioner all told making more than $1,000,000 per year and add some cops. Take some detectives and some SWAT and some vice and set up a gang and prostitute squad. All it would take is to hire 10 more cops that you could get with saving on the "TOP HEAVY" police department. I know it is difficult for the Gazette to deal with real facts but you might want to give it a shot once in a while.

October 12, 2012
2:13 p.m.
Fritzdawg says...

wmarincic: When you're right, you're right.
It's not often, but still, that was very well stated.

October 14, 2012
1:15 p.m.
robbump says...

Piles of dirt on the front lawn are okay, but a fence isn't?

I'd much rather see a fence! BTW, why the fence across SCCC? And the "fence that protects nothing" along Rt 5 and the north side of the college? If those fences are allowable, then why not on Moyston Street?

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