Buffalo Police adapt to growing downtown

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 17:50:27-05

The Buffalo Police Department said it has seen a "significant increase" in 911 calls downtown in the last year.  B District Chief Joseph Gramaglia said that is due to a rise in the number of people moving to and visiting downtown Buffalo.

But, despite the rise in 911 calls, police say the crime rate city-wide has dropped by more than 30 percent in the past 10 years.

Chief Gramaglia points to economic development as a major catalyst to the wave of new residents in the city.  And all this change, he said, is forcing the department to change the way it goes about policing downtown.

"You can't find out what problems are going on unless you're out there talking to people," Chief Gramaglia said.  "Our community police officers are doing a phenomenal job with being out there.  They make a lot of meetings, they interact with the business people downtown."

This focus on community policing has helped solve problems before they get worse.

Gramaglia said community members recently brought a number of the city's homeless to the attention of police, who were able to connect those individuals with the Matt Urban Hope Center.

The department has added patrols and officers dedicated to the downtown area.  It also increased the number of officers on the ground at major events that draw thousands to the city.