NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Pine Avenue is a small business hub in the Cataract City that has been a target for robberies. Shamsher Sing, owner of the Indian General Store says he has been robbed four times in the last twelve years.
“This is a major problem for this street,” Sing says.
Niagara Falls Councilman Bill Kennedy agrees, he says he is determined to help stop crime in Niagara Falls and make the neighborhoods a safer place for everyone.
“We cannot continue to live like this… people should not have to fear for their safety every single day,” Kennedy said. “It’s not our police department’s fault.”
Kennedy and other community leaders held a press conference on Tuesday morning calling for action to stop the violence-- one day after a man robbed the landmark DiCamillo’s Bakery on Pine Avenue.
Surveillance video shows a man walking into the store around 1pm on Monday and demanded money from the 63-year-old cashier. Police say he hit the woman on her side because she wasn’t moving fast enough, took the money and ran away. The woman was not seriously hurt.
“This is not the city I grew up in, and it’s time to get our city back,” Kennedy said.
A few hours later on Monday, police were called for a confrontation of two men inside the Ray-Mart on Pine Avenue. Police say the men were fighting about money, unrelated to the store.
Niagara Falls Police Department says they are starting a camera program that will set up surveillance cameras to capture entire streets and will be working directly with business owners to make sure the retail areas are safe for shoppers.
“We are going to try and shift some of our tourist money towards Pine Avenue as well as downtown to try and be more present and try to give more police presence,” Niagara Falls Police Superintendent Thomas Licata said.
Sing says he bought a dog to feel safer in his store. He says he believes the only way to stop the crime is to have more jobs.
“He needs a job from Niagara Falls, he cannot rob other people,” Sing said.
Niagara Falls Police say they expect to make an arrest in the DiCamillo’s Bakery robbery soon.