University Heights, Buffalo, NY

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

UB continues its abandonment of South Campus

Research institute moves downtown

A policy and research center at the University at Buffalo has been relocated, in what marks the beginning of similar moves to strengthen UB’s presence downtown.
UB’s Regional Institute has moved from Beck Hall on the South Campus to refurbished space on the third floor of UB’s Downtown Gateway building, formerly the M. Wile building, 77 Goodell St.
Moving the institute’s 10-member staff into the building is just a small part of the university’s larger plan to create a vibrant downtown campus along the Buffalo Niagara Medical Corridor.
UB eventually wants to relocate its Medical School and other health-related fields downtown, where this year it broke ground with Kaleida Health on a new 10- story vascular and research center.
Next spring, the university is scheduled to start building a four-story Educational Opportunity Center on a parking lot next to the UB Gateway building.
UB acquired the former M. Wile building in 2007 to relocate several of its community outreach programs, like the Regional Institute. They include: UB’s Office of Economic Engagement; administrative offices for UBMD, which represents 450 faculty physicians; UB’s office of Government and Community Relations; and the Center of Educational Collaboration, an initiative designed to collaborate with the Buffalo Public Schools.
“Over the course of the next few years, the community can expect to see additional units follow the institute to create an engaging, vibrant space for university-community interaction,” UB President John B. Simpson said in a prepared statement.
Founded in 1997 as the Institute for Local Governance and Regional Growth, the Regional Institute analyzes issues affecting the Buffalo Niagara region, such as the economy, governance reform and demographic change.
For the institute, the move downtown offers greater visibility and the opportunity for new partnerships, Kathryn A. Foster, institute director, said during an open house Tuesday afternoon.
“Proximity to our government, business and civic partners in the region’s hub lets us broaden and deepen our regional connections,” Foster said.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Home Improvement Program

The Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo is looking for up to 100 homes to repair! High school students with adult chaperones will provide basic home repairs-painting on the inside or outside, building/repairing wheelchair ramps, weatherization and step/porch repair in your neighborhood during the week of June 20 - 26,2010.

To qualify, you must:
1. Be physically or financially unable to repair your own home.
2. Own your home.
3. Have homeowners insurance.
4. Have someone present at the home during the week of June 20-26, 2010 (it could
be a family member, friend or neighbor).

Want to Hear More?

Please join us at one of the following meetings!
• December 10, 6:00 p.m. at 100 Allen Hall, UB South Campus
• December 15, 6:00 p.m. at Gloria J Parks Community Center, 3242 Main St.
• January 5, 6:00 p.m. at Ken-Bailey Neighborhood Housing Services 995 Kensington Ave.

To be considered. you must complete an application and mail it in by January 30. 2010.
Space is limited! ApplyNow!
Call Mary Fisher at the Wipe Out Lead Hotline
(716) 712-5500 or

Click here for a form yiou can print out and send in or bring to the information session.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Video from Buffalo Rising Story

Buffalo Rising on "University Slope"

Full article here
University Slope - Again
by Steel

A year or so ago I wrote a BRO story on a portion of University Heights that I took upon myself to call "University Slope". I did not have a very extensive or very good set of photographs of the neighborhood at the time; now that I do, I have put together this slideshow stroll through one of Buffalo's least known neighborhood treasures. This section of University Heights occupies a triangular area at the north end of the city, west of the UB Main Street Campus.

The streets sweep up a gentle but dramatic (by Buffalo Standards) slope. The bell tower of Hayes Hall on campus forms an elegant backdrop to many streets. In recent years, University Heights has been painted with a broad brush as a place with growing urban problems including crime, rowdy students, badly managed absentee property, and poor city services. This neighborhood really does not fit that stereotype, hence I gave it a new name.

What one finds in this portion of the city is actually a picturesque enclave of streets with well-kept (mostly owner occupied) houses. The streets wind and angle in a complex weave as they fit into the triangle between Kenmore Avenue and Main Street. You feel enveloped within this comfortable setting as you explore its small blocks and mini parks lined, with comfortable houses mostly in the homey craftsman style. You will even find a major Buffalo art gallery (UB's Anderson Gallery) here. The people who live here are friendly and eager to brag about their hidden treasure. Check out the slide show and see if you agree.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buffalo CarShare comes to University Heights

Buffalo CarShare, the rapidly expanding nonprofit car sharing service, has chosen the parking lot behind St. Joseph’s University Church as its newest hub location. The organization was created six months ago by University at Buffalo urban planning graduates and has since become a popular transportation alternative for over 130 dues-paying Buffalonians. With a growing fleet of vehicles concentrated in downtown and the Elmwood Village, the car at St. Joseph’s is the first and only uptown location.
The service allows its users the advantages of driving a car without the hassles that accompany car ownership. Members rent the car on an hourly basis, typically for errands, shopping, or other brief trips. Cars can be reserved either online where the availability of their cars is shown or over the phone. Once reserved, the member uses an electronic key to access the car and then returns it to the same spot for the next member to use. The cost of the service is $5-$8 per hour with a small additional mileage charge, depending on use. There is also a monthly membership fee of either $5 or $20, also depending on use. Membership is available to anyone 18 or older with a relatively clean driving record. Once accepted, members are insured through Buffalo CarShare to drive any of the vehicles in their fleet.
Contact Buffalo CarShare at 898-0850 or online here to enroll in this unique neighborhood amenity.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Evidence of UB abandoning the Heights

A $57 million project for north campus while south campus waits for crumbs to fall from the table.
Why wasn't this project proposed for University Heights?

600-bed dorm planned at UB North Campus

Work has begun on a 600-bed residence hall on the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst.The $57 million project is being built on land between John James Audubon Parkway and the residence halls at the Ellicott Complex. It will feature a more “living learning” design intended to mesh campus residential and academic space.

“The entire first floor of the building will demonstrate the vibrance of 24-hour-a-day academic activity, a principle in the living learning concept,” said Joseph J. Krakowiak, director of university residence halls and apartments. “The first floor has a wide variety of settings for classroom spaces, for study groups, for individual study and a casual cafe.”

Opening is scheduled for August 2011.

The new South Ellicott Suites is significant to the North Campus for a couple of reasons, said Robert G. Shibley, senior adviser for campus planning.

For one, the project will include features that will be the gold standard in environmental design and serve as a demonstration for what UB wants to do when constructing future buildings.

Second, it’s the first step toward building a mix of housing and retail along Lee Road, a campus access road, to create more of a “Main Street” through the campus spine, Shibley said.

As part of the project, Lee Road will be extended to the Ellicott Complex across Audubon Parkway, where a traffic circle will be installed to slow the vehicles.

“It starts the evolution of Lee Road as UB’s new Main Street,” Shibley said.

UB faces more competition in the student housing market, as developers in recent years have built hundreds of private student apartments just across the road from the university.

Still, Shibley and Krakowiak don’t anticipate a problem filling up the new residence hall, which is geared toward sophomores.

Sophomores tend to want a little more space and privacy than the traditional campus housing but may not be quite ready for an apartment, Krakowiak said.

The new residence hall will have a “suite style” design, which includes two double bedrooms, a bathroom, storage and a dressing area.

A 2,000-square-foot Market Cafe on the first floor will have seating for 50 people.

“First-floor spaces have extended flexibility and capability to offer different educational settings as required,” Krakowiak said. “Space is available for faculty offices, seminar rooms and impromptu study.”

The project will be built without state money, Krakowiak said.

State education law allows the university to enter into agreements with the UB Alumni Association and UB Foundation, which would borrow money for the project. Payments collected from students living in the residence hall would go toward the cost of building and operating the facility.

UB — which has nearly 29,000 students — currently has about 1,350 beds on the South Campus on Main Street, about 4,000 beds in residence halls on the North Campus and about 2,200 beds in apartments on the North Campus.

The last time housing went up on campus was in 2002, when Creekside Village — apartments for graduate and professional students — opened on the northwest edge of the North Campus.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Makeshift memorial at University Heights slaying scene, "law enforcement and the university are ineffective in policing the student population"

Buffalo News, November 03, 2009,

Peer into the few square yards of ground along Lisbon Avenue near Cordova Avenue and the tragic tale that unfolded there at 4:30 a. m. Saturday tells itself.
A dozen or so flickering votive candles surrounded by bouquets of flowers, a football and pictures and messages of love and friendship are what you see first.
But a closer look Monday evening — 2 1/2 years later— painted a more sinister picture of the events leading up to the death of 19-year-old Jacob Herbert, a 2008 graduate of Clarence High School.
Just over the sidewalk from the memorial, remnants of medical equipment —a pair of syringes; an empty box of atropine sulfate, an injection to treat cardiac arrest; an intubator; and spent roll of gauze tape — were left behind the grass.
A few steps down the street, empty cognac and rum bottles lie just off the sidewalk.
Herbert, according to law enforcement authorities, was one of a dozen or so people who returned to a house party at 112 Lisbon Ave. that police had shut down twice earlier that night. Herbert was stabbed multiple times during an argument that erupted as the third party let out.
Despite the trail of evidence that paramedics attempted to save Herbert’s life, the teen died.
Now, neighbors and friends are left wondering why.
Why wasn’t the party shuttered after police first broke it up around midnight? Why did it continue after they dispersed partiers again 90 minutes later? Why were no arrests made? Why was the party allowed to rekindle a third time?
“That’s a question for the kids,” said Michael J. DeGeorge, Buffalo police spokesman. “Who persisted and came back?”
DeGeorge said authorities first responded at about midnight after fielding 911 calls from neighbors concerning loud noise.
Police arrived to find a “large house party” described by De- George not as a “college, fraternity or University at Buffalo party” but rather a “mixed group party” consisting of “upwards of 200 people.”
Officers “shut down the party” and ordered revelers to “disperse and go home,” DeGeorge said.
After receiving more complaints, they returned at about 1:30 a. m. and did the same thing.
But the party reconvened again later that morning.
“For whatever reason, certain individuals persisted and came back to the party,” De- George said. “The victim and a few other people came back to the party.
“About 4:30 a. m., there were 15-20 people there. Most of the people were leaving and some type of argument broke out between Herbert and some individual. Herbert was stabbed multiple times.”
Herbert is the city’s 50th homicide victim of 2009. A woman acquaintance of Herbert, who said her name was Danielle, visited the memorial at dusk Monday. She called Herbert “very athletic and very popular.” She was not at Saturday’s party.
A 33-year-old next door neighbor who identified herself only as Mrs. L. Randle said student rowdiness is disruptive to the neighborhood — particularly toher— the mother of a newborn.
“The college students are out of control,” Randle said. “They’re all up and down the street screaming and hollering.”
Claiming law enforcement and the university are ineffective in policing the student population, Randle believes their methods — or lack thereof — culminated in Saturday’s events.
“They need to talk to the kids and the parents about partying,” Randle said, “and there should be a penalty when they don’t act right.”
No connection seems to exist, however, between UB and Herbert or the hosts of the party.
Still, some mourners who gathered at the memorial Monday evening also said Buffalo and university police need to work more closely to curb rowdy, and sometimes violent, behavior.
“Don’t you feel like this is something that could have been prevented?” asked one neighbor who wouldn’t give his name. “[Police] should have never left the scene.”
Another who identified himself only as “Kevin” was disturbed not only by the violence but also by the medical items left behind at the scene, calling it “sloppy” and “disrespectful” for the family of Herbert who gathered to mourn there Sunday.
Jay Smith, spokesman for Rural/Metro Medical Services, said crews clean up after themselves unless they’re specifically asked not to by police but added that the scene Saturday morning was especially “chaotic.” Herbert’s condition was so dire, Smith said, that two paramedics worked on him during transport to Erie County Medical Center.
“Because of the patient’s condition . . . they didn’t stick around the scene very long.”

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UB Recognized for Civic Engagement

The University at Buffalo was recently acknowledged on the Honor Roll of “Saviors of Our Cities: Survey of Best College and University Civic Partnerships.” Conducted by Dr. Evan Dobelle, President of Westfield State College, the survey highlights programs across the United States that show positive economic, social, and cultural impact upon the cities in which they reside. The rankings were based on how effectively the college or university “forged a collaborative vision of a shared future with its community.”

View the Survey here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Farmers Market Ends this Saturday

Join us this Saturday, October 17th as we celebrate the final day of this season's University Community Farmers Market.

Started on May 16th, the market has run for 22 weeks this year on Saturday mornings from 8:00am - 1:00pm at the South Campus on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue.

New this season were special events on the first Saturday of the month, where a different event was featured for attendees to lean from and enjoy. Events included Gardening Day with master gardeners from the neighborhood and a plant swap. There was Neighborhood Day where you could come sign up for a block club or talk with neighborhood leaders, and in August we had Artisan Day with local crafters and artist selling their wares.

This season' most popular special event was in September when we held safety demonstrations in cluding child seat safety checks from University Police, fire extinguisher demonstration from UB Environmental Health and Safety and even the Buffalo Fire Department was on hand for tours of the fire truck.

This year's vendors included Independence Hill Farms, McHenry Produce, Kate's Country Cousins, Pasta Temptations, Ken's Maple Products and Honey, Heaven's Gift Just For You home and personal fragrence items, Yancey's Fancy cheese, and Sweet Greek. Also new this year were the addition of local wineries which came to sell and sample their wine on various weeks.

Stop by on Saturday to say thanks to this year's vendors, meet some of your neighbors and stock up on products for the winter at the last market day of the year.

For more information on the University Community Farmers Market contact UB Community Relations at 716-829-3099.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UB Gets Dirty

UB gets dirty
Ashley Smith, Staff Writer

UB students recently put down their pens and notebooks and picked up shovels, brooms, rakes and gloves to pick up trash around the University Heights.

The students were participating in UB Getting Dirty, a Student Association-sponsored community cleanup event.

According to Angela Jones, SA club services director, about 400 students participated in the community service project this year.

“I think we had a fantastic turnout,” said Jenny Harb, SA assistant community engagement director.

The project covered all of the University Heights area, utilizing volunteer drivers, shuttle buses and sponsors to get students out onto the streets to clean up trash.

“At first I thought [UB Getting Dirty] would be really lame … picking up trash really early in the morning, but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun and I felt really good doing it,” said Caraline Stocker, a sophomore art major.

UB Getting Dirty was started four years ago to encourage UB students and clubs to give back to their community. The project satisfies some of the student clubs’ mandatory community service requirement.

“It gives us an opportunity to better the community that we actually inhabit,” said Chloe Lake, a sophomore undecided major.

Angela Reale, a senior nursing major, has participated in UB Getting Dirty several times.

“We used to have competitions to see who could find the best piece of garbage,” Reale said. “It’s a good way to get groups together, get to know people and help the community at the same time.”

Other students also expressed the value that community service has had in their lives.

“When I was in China, I did a lot of community service,” said Xinyi He, a junior accounting major. “Last semester there was [a community service project] for preparing tax returns, [and] I did that.”

In past years, the event has drawn 300 to 400 students who were ready to clean up the Buffalo streets.

“[Japanese Student Association members] think that it makes the community stronger,” said JSA secretary Kosuke Higo.

As SA coordinators began calling clubs forward and distributing T-shirts and equipment, the event became significantly less coherent, according to several attendees. Though many students agree that this was a good cause, there was room for improvement.

“I think it’s disorganized and they need a megaphone,” said Ciara Trosin, a freshman undecided major.

Trosin pointed out that while these projects have their flaws, they provide an opportunity that allows communities surrounding UB’s campus to see students volunteering and helping others.

“[UB is not] making adequate efforts to give back to the community, but there is beginning to be an awareness under [President] Simpson,” said Gordon Connally, a University Heights resident.

Connally hopes UB will have a positive effect on University Heights and the city of Buffalo in the future.

“[Students] just need to be present in the community,” Connally said.


Friday, September 18, 2009

UB Spectrum Article

Improving life in the Heights
Chelsie Hinckley, Staff Writer

For many UB students, living off campus is an attractive alternative to dorm life – there’s more privacy, no shared bathroom and the feeling of complete responsibility. But many don’t consider the potential issues that living off campus can cause.

Students living off campus, especially those living near South Campus in the University Heights, are not only held to UB rules and regulations, but to the rules of their new landlords as well, which can cause issues as college students experiment with their first real tastes of freedom.

Last year, UB established the Office of Off-Campus Student Services, which is working to meet some of these issues as well as help create a sense of community that the office feels is long missing from the Heights.

If they break any regulation or cause trouble in their neighborhoods, they can be held liable and fined.

In addition, students living in houses in the University Heights that are caught throwing more than one loud and rowdy party are first warned and then expelled, according to new regulations put in place by the university.

Outside of the rules and regulations focus, Off-Campus Student Services also directs a lot of attention toward community involvement. On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, the office held a block party and safety fair, attracting an estimated 750 people. It brought together residents and businesses from the University Heights neighborhood to share information about organizations in the community. The fire department also held a demonstration on how quickly an apartment can burn from a candle.

Off-Campus Student Services also conducted “operation door hanger” before the beginning of the academic year, in which they distributed 2,700 recycled shopping bags to homes in the neighborhood with important numbers to call, information on recycling and first aid kits in an effort to make the Heights a safer place to live.

Senior mentor Stacey Fredrick lives in off campus housing on Highgate Avenue. She said that although she has read though the safety tips provided on the Off-Campus Student Services Web site, she hasn’t actually used any of the services they provide. She does, however, use the Anti-Rape Task Force Safety Shuttles on a regular basis.

Another responsibility of Off-Campus Student Services is to help with situations that often arise with apartment living standards and leases. Dan Ryan, director of off campus student services, discussed one such situation.

“Many students are living in apartments with landlords that are taking advantage of them because they don’t understand the terms of their lease,” Ryan said.

The office is readily available to help with unsafe living conditions, including bad plumbing, poor electricity and landlords that try to take students’ security deposits and not return them.

The central goal of Off-Campus Student Services is to help students get more involved in their community, enabling them to be safer and more responsible citizens. By implementing new changes this academic year, the office is helping students who live off campus stay connected to the school.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009

UB Neighbor's Day

University Heights: A neighborhood at risk, Buffalo News Front page story

university heights, crime, suny at buffalo, UB, university of Buffalo, North buffalo
University Heights: A neighborhood at risk
by Jay Rey and Mary B. Pasciak
Updated: September 06, 2009, 9:59 AM / 9 comments

It's Thursday night, and the party houses, restaurants and bars along Main Street in Buffalo's University Heights come alive with college students who have returned for a new school year.
On this night, cops patrol on bikes. Security cameras watch from high above on light poles.
Both are new, after several high-profile crimes -- including a May murder on Main Street -- raised a sense of fear on these streets surrounding the University at Buffalo's South Campus.
The students -- and their parents -- have a right to be concerned.
While the University Heights has traditionally been one of the city's safest neighborhoods, it has experienced a rise in crimes over the past five years that are more violent and more personal, a Buffalo News analysis found.
Assaults are up.
Burglaries are up.
Robberies are way up.
Just look at Minnesota and Lisbon avenues, the two residential streets with the most crime in this neighborhood.
At the same time, crime citywide hasn't increased nearly as much. For some crimes, city streets have become safer.
The difference, some believe, stems from the large number of college students living off campus in this northeastern corner of Buffalo, home to 16,000 residents, about 20 percent of them UB students.
The University Heights crime database contains information on more than 9,000 incidents reported to Buffalo police from 2004 to 2008. Type in an address or street name. Or select the type of crime you would like to search for.
The cheap rent, the nightlife and the proximity to campus outweigh safety concerns.
"It's a lot of fun," said Alyssa Fronk, a UB student who lives on Englewood Avenue. "All of our friends live down here."
For years, homeowners complained about the college students' drunkenness and the foolishness that can spill over during all hours of the night.
The same careless, carefree attitudes also make the students easy prey.
"There's no question about it," said Capt. David Stabler of the Northeast District, which includes the University Heights. "You have a lot of young kids targeting these students, because they're easy, they give it up and they can't describe [their assailants]."
Students tend to agree.
"Where else but the University Heights are you going to find a house full of 18-year-old guys with a new stereo system, who leave their door open and are passed out drunk?" said Fronk's roommate, Ashlee Hoover.
Over the years, longtime neighbors watched with concern as University Heights started to shrink. In the past five years, nearly 500 UB students have left the neighborhood, many of them opting instead to move to the newer, higher-end private apartments near the North Campus in Amherst.
The longtime residents are worried about crime on the rise and low-income families moving in.
"We tend to think of the East Side creeping north, and that's what we're trying to prevent," said David J. Ellerbrock, president of the University Heights Collaborative.
Officials from UB and the city point to the cameras along Main Street, the bike-patrol detail, and more-aggressive efforts to thwart rowdy parties as solutions.
"It's not a panacea," said Vincent D. Clark, director of community relations for UB, "but the university is committed to doing what it can do right now."
Some residents question how much UB is doing to protect the neighborhood that borders its South Campus … and whether that's enough.
When Javon R. Jackson was shot dead after a dispute in a Main Street restaurant on his graduation day from UB in May, University Heights became rather deserted, with many people taken aback by the early-morning murder.
"Students are more cautious, because that never happened here," said Nelsys Aybar, a UB junior who lives in the Heights. "That was like a wake-up call."
The News looked at University Heights crime incidents reported to the Buffalo Police Department from 2004 to 2008, the most recent year for which data was available.
The analysis found:
Assaults, burglaries and robberies are up significantly.
Burglaries were up by one-third from five years ago.
Assaults … down citywide … were at a five-year high in the University Heights in 2008, with an average of two a week. It's unclear how much of that may be caused by fights among students, such as last year's brutal beating on Main Street that left a UB student paralyzed.
Particularly troublesome were the robberies, which nearly doubled over five years.
The 151 robberies last year were fueled by a string of armed holdups in the spring and fall. Police arrested several teenagers for the crimes.
Crime escalates as students return for the fall.
While crime citywide peaks in July and August, crime in the University Heights is highest in September and October.
The homicide rate is no higher in the University Heights than it is throughout the city. An average of two murders a year occur in this part of town.
Main Street, the commercial heart of the neighborhood, not surprisingly accounts for the most crime, including larcenies, robberies and assaults.
But among residential streets, Minnesota and Lisbon each had more reported robberies, burglaries and assaults than any other.
Crime varies widely within the University Heights.
Dissected by Main Street and Bailey Avenue, the boundaries of the University Heights … as defined by UB … are Kenmore Avenue to the north; East Amherst to the south; Eggert Road to the east; and an old railroad right of way to the west.
Fearing crime, some students have moved away from the Bailey area over the years, longtime residents say.
But the crime rate between Bailey and Eggert is actually lower than it is citywide.
The most troubled area of University Heights lies between Main and Bailey, which includes parts of Minnesota and Lisbon.
Neighbors say this area, once heavily populated by students, now is the home for more low-income families.
Some say that juxtaposition of poverty and the affluence of students is driving up crime in the area.
College students, many from Long Island and Westchester County, bring with them more expensive electronics than ever before. Gadgets like laptops and iPods are small, easy to carry … and all too often, easy to take.
Many students also tend to be naive and somewhat careless.
They often leave their doors unlocked, or even slightly open.
They don't bother to use security systems.
And they think nothing of walking alone at night, often tuned in to the music on their iPod, rather than any danger that might be lurking behind them.
"I tell mothers, I can put 10 locks on the door, but I can't make them lock them," said Nancy Miranda, who has been renting apartments to students in the Heights for 32 years.
The triangular-shaped area west of Main … which is becoming known as the party capital of University Heights … had the lowest overall crime rate.
But the crime, including assaults, robberies and burglaries, is increasing faster in this area than elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Hoover, a UB junior, should know. Her house was broken into and her laptop was stolen from her room.
Corey Medina knows, too. A couple of old chairs were stolen from his porch since moving onto Englewood in June.
"If you're smart, don't call attention to yourself, keep your doors locked, I don't think you're going to have a problem," said Medina, a UB junior.
Many longtime residents say the university seems more concerned about the Heights in the past few years. They generally seem to appreciate the security cameras the university has paid to install in the neighborhood.
It's a step in the right direction, many say. One of the cameras was instrumental in catching the person accused of killing Jackson in May.
Buffalo police also designated a patrol car specifically for University Heights last year and are deploying additional cars in the area for the first few weeks of the semester.
The new bike detail … using UB, Buffalo and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority officers to patrol on peak party nights through September … seemed to go over well the first night.
"I think it's wonderful," said John Bernard, owner of Third Base, a Main Street bar.
Still, more needs to be done, residents say.
"[The cameras] can deter some crime, but nothing deters crime like a police cruiser driving down the street," said Tucker Curtin, owner of the Steer and Lake Effect Diner on Main Street.
Residents would like to see UB's 61-member police force patrolling the University Heights.
"We don't patrol off campus. Us going into Buffalo would be the same as Buffalo [police] going into Amherst or Cheektowaga," said UB Police Chief Gerald W. Schoenle Jr, whose force is about the size of the West Seneca Police Department. "Buffalo police would tell you it's their responsibility to patrol the Heights, and we agree with that."
University police can patrol on campus, along with other property that UB owns.
So while UB officers are seen near the president's home on LeBrun Road in Amherst, a mile and a half from campus, they respond in University Heights when Buffalo police ask them for help.
UB patrolling in Buffalo would be almost like having a regional police force, Schoenle said.
It also could pose union issues for Buffalo police.
"If we had our officers always responding to things off campus, they wouldn't be available for things on campus," Schoenle said.
That frustrates some residents.
"We'd like to see a greater willingness of the SUNY police to get involved," said Ellerbrock, the neighborhood activist.
These problems aren't unique to UB.
UB officials say they are looking at ways other universities … like Ohio State in Columbus and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia … helped stabilize the neighborhoods around their campuses.
"We're not going anywhere," said UB's Clark, who lives in the University Heights. "We will invest in our South Campus, and we're looking to be even more aggressive in the neighborhood."
But for now, UB said it's doing what it can … like the bike patrols.
On the first night of the patrols, Buffalo police officer Antione cqLanier, along with UB officers Scott Bixby and Lt. Chris Bartolomei, biked along Main, between the campus and LaSalle avenue.
They stopped to talk to bar and restaurant owners, and warned them police don't want to see patrons drinking on sidewalks.
"The idea is to be visible and hopefully a deterrent," Bartolomei said. "Maybe we'll be able to roll up on something in progress."

Friday, September 4, 2009

Safety Day at the Market this Saturday

This Saturday September 5th at the weekly University Community Farmers Market will be Safety Day from 10:00am – 12:00pm as part of the market’s first Saturday of the month special event series.

Representatives from University police will be present to do child seat safety checks.

Representatives from Environmental Health and Safety will be providing practical portable fire extinguisher training and a table where the Off Campus Student Resident Task Force resources will be available. Buffalo Fire is also expected to attend with equipment for display.

The University Community Farmers Market runs every Saturday through October 17th from 8:00am – 1:00pm with these special events from 10:00am – 12:00pm on the first Saturday of the month. The market is held on the UB South Campus on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue.

For more information please contact UB Community Relations at 826-3099.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Neighbor's Day Block Party & Safety Fair

This Sunday September 6th join your neighbors and friends at the Neighbor's Day Block Party to be held on the UB South Campus.

This is a free special event designed to bring together residents of the University Heights, Main Street and Bailey Avenue Businesses, and city, county and university offices. It will be from 3:00pm - 7:00pm on the lawn in front of Hayes Hall.

There will be free food, a live band, informational tables from local organizations and more. Students and neighbors are invited. A rain date will be on Monday September 7th from 3:00-7:00pm.

For more information about the event please contact the UB Office of Off Campus Student Services at 829-3541.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Love the Market, a popular online destination for people who care about making a difference is sponsoring a "Love Your Market" contest in collaboration with, a web site all about organic and local food. As you know, University Heights has its own market, called the University Community Farmers Market. It is held on the South Campus has been entered in the "Love Your Market" contest and is eligible to win money to support it.

An important feature in the University Heights neighborhood, the market started in 2007 and is a great way to get healthy local products, support local businesses and meet your neighbors.

love your farmers market contest - help your market win $5,000 - vote today!It runs every Saturday through October 17th from 8:00am - 1:00pm on the UB South Campus on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue. Read about the market on LocalHarvest.

Please vote in the "Love Your Market" contest today, and tell others to vote as well. We appreciate your support! Click here to vote.

For more information about the University Community Farmers Market contact UB Community Relations at 829-3099.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Artisan Day at the Farmers Market

This Saturday the University Community Farmers Market on the UB South Campus will get a bit bigger as we host Artisan Day, August's special event, one of five on the first Saturday of the month during the market season. Artisan Day will feature some crafters and local artists from 9:00am - 1:00pm. The market begins each week at 8:00am on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue.

Some of the vendors include Green Dog Biscuits, a local company that makes natural dog treats of organic ingredients. Also in attendance will be Erin Bellavia who does calligraphy and paper crafts.

You will be able to find jewelry this weekend too, compliments of Dana Saylor Designs. Her custom pieces for weddings, every day or special occasions are made with Swarovski crystal.

Clay and pottery fans can shop from Clayguys, who make polymer clay embellished items such as kitchen serving utensils, salt & pepper shakers, pie servers, and some hand built jewelery which is also made with polymer clay.

Regular vendors include Independence Hill produce, jellies, jams and canned goods; McHenry Produce, Kate's Country Cousins; Pasta Temptations; Sweet Greek; and Heaven's Gift Just for You. The market is located on the South Campus on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue. Free parking is available in the Main-Bailey parking lot right next to the market.

The market is each Saturday through October 17. Contact UB Community Relations for more information at 829-3099.

Improving safety, life in the Heights

Improving safety, life in the Heights

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Garden Walk Highlights

Last Saturday the neighbors living around the UB South Campus showcased their plants, yards and gardening skills in the 8th Annual Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk. Begun as as a way to build community among neighbors, as well as highlight gardens, the Walk had 54 participants this year.

Thank you to all of our neighbors who spent the day opening their yards and sharing their gardening tips. Below are some photos, the rest can be found on the YourUB flickr site.

Here is a backyard on Heath Street.

A young but thriving garden on Deveraux.

Some garden walkers enjoy the colors on Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Here is an audio slideshow from Douglas Levere, A UB photographer.

Any garden within the neighborhoods surrounding the UB South Campus is eligible to participate. Volunteers are invited to help plan the event each year. For more information on the Capen Garden Walk, contact UB Community Relations at 716-829-3099.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BPO to Play at UB Tonight

Tonight UB will launch its third season of UB on the Green, a free outdoor performance series held on the South (Main Street) Campus, with a performance by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

UB on the Green's free music and dance performances will be held from 6-8 p.m. on July 21, July 28 and Aug 4 on the Hayes Hall front lawn. In addition to all-ages entertainment, the series is designed to educate, as well as entertain, with interactive demonstrations and other hands-on activities that are fun for the whole family.

Participants are encouraged to bring a picnic, lawn chairs and blankets. Light refreshments will be available for sale. UB on the Green is an alcohol-free, family-friendly event.

"UB on the Green is an opportunity to bring the community and university together for more than just good entertainment," said Vincent D. Clark, director of UB Community Relations. "This event provides opportunities for residents to organize and keep our neighborhoods strong by joining a block club or neighborhood watch, attending a safety training or participating in other neighborhood associations."

Designed to showcase the university's resources, as well, the series also will include participation by the UB pediatric dental clinics, the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the UB Anderson Gallery, as well as other local community organizations.

The series will begin on July 21 with a program of light classics by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Conducted by Paul Ferington, it is the orchestra's first return to the South Campus for an outdoor concert since 1997, when Ferington conducted a post-Fourth of July show.

Local musician Neville Francis and his band, The Riddim Posse will headline the July 28 program, which also will include The Budos Band, a Brooklyn group with a jazz, afro-beat and soul sound.

The series will end on Aug. 4 with Taylor Made Jazz, a local award-winning group, and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, known for its appeal to diverse audiences.

For more information about UB on the Green, contact the UB Office of Community Relations at 716-829-3099.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk this Saturday

Come out to see the beauty in the South Campus neighborhoods this weekend at the 8th annual Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk, scheduled on Saturday from 11:00am - 4:00pm.

Fifty four gardeners will be home to talk with you about their gardens, which are filled with art, ponds, arbors and many more surprises.

Maps for the walk are available from 8:00am - 1:00pm at the University Community Farmers Market and from 11:00am - 4:00pm at the following houses: 22 Larchmont Rd, 38 Brinton St, 135 and 405 Capen Blvd and 67 Highgate. Maps are available Friday at 101 Allen Hall from 9:00am - 5:00pm.

This year’s walk will showcase gardens with a variety of attractions, including fish ponds and other water features, sculptures, gazebos, organic and native plants in Japanese, English and Cottage-style garden designs. Other gardens are entirely grassless or center around rock and boulder elements.

This year, attendees can get a Garden Walk passport, where they will visit gardens and collect the password at each house. Then they can enter the passport into a drawing to win a prize. Passports will also be available with the maps.

The Capen Garden Walk is coordinated in collaboration with the UB Office of Community Relations, the University Heights Collaborative and the Eggertsville Community Organization. Its mission is to showcase the neighborhoods surrounding the UB South Campus while building community among neighbors.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Clark Hall- Fitness in the Heights!

Clark Hall, located on UB’s South Campus, provides UB and University Heights with an extensive fitness and recreation center. The amenities provided include 3 full-court basketball courts, 3 volleyball courts, 3 badminton courts, a multipurpose gym with tartan surface, a dance studio with a wooden floor, 3 racquetball/squash courts, a wrestling room, a weight room, an abs/cardio room, showers, locker room, and a 25 meter swimming pool for the full-body workout. The Fitness Center at Clark Hall features Nautilus and Cybex selectorized equipment for the person desiring this type of workout. In addition, the Clark facility is fitted with a Heartline Jungle Gym, free weights, benches and a variety of cardiovascular equipment.

Using Clark’s facilities is more affordable than most health clubs, with only a $20 monthly, or $189 yearly fee for University Heights neighbors and other community members. This price also includes access to the facilities on North Campus’ Alumni Arena. Various programs and training classes are also offered for an additional fee.

Visit Clark Hall today to begin a healthier, more active life!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Buffalo News Feature Story

Donn Esmonde: University Heights needs UB to step up

The recent rash of violence around UB’s South Campus brought it all back for me: the school’s broken promise over the last decade to invest in —and to stabilize—the surrounding University Heights neighborhood.

If anything should spur UB to revisit the plan, it is last month’s shooting death of model student Javon Jackson the night after his graduation.

Banks, corporations and politicians in the mid-1990s were in place with UB to buy, renovate and resell more than 100 homes. UB never pulled the trigger.

The idea was to retrace the footprint that UB had in the ’70s, when it owned many houses—and had its campus police station—on nearby Winspear Avenue. Then-President Bill Greiner of UB abandoned a limp ’90s housing effort after redoing a half-dozen homes—at the same time UB was building reams of student housing at its isolated North Campus in Amherst.

Activists hoped that new President John Simpson’s UB 2020 plan would include a University Heights housing piece. Instead, it was the missing piece of a worthy 2020 vision that will—among other things—deepen the university’s downtown footprint and buck up its South Campus academics. But it does little to deal with the fraying University Heights neighborhood and the glut of absentee landlords and trolling street thugs.

Dozens of urban colleges—as close as Canisius and as distant as USC—extended their reach into surrounding streets. Whether fueled by altruism or self-interest, it makes sense for schools to reach into neighborhood housing—for student safety, and to avoid the enrollment- killing reputation that crime brings.

Police say crime in University Heights is down. But the last year saw several high-profile student rapes and beatings, a homeowner’s shooting and— last month—the shooting death of Jackson and a UB student’s brother.

Jackson’s tragedy should prompt UB officials to stop dipping their toe into the neighborhood and dive in. A similar tragedy prompted Milwaukee’s Marquette University to get off the dime a decade ago. Half steps such as UB’s employee housing incentives and task forces do not get it done.

“It was the right thing to do back then,” said Kevin Helfer, “and it is the right thing to do now. . . . I think it should be part of their core mission.”

As University Heights member of the Common Council in the ’90s, Helfer helped to craft the buy-rehab-sell housing plan that UB never launched. He said that it “would not be that hard” for UB to do it. Neighborhood residents have bought and rehabbed a handful of houses, but nothing on the scale UB could bring. Along with building a city at the Amherst campus, UB could prop up the one that already exists along Main Street.

“It is in their self-interest to stabilize the neighborhood,” Helfer said. “If they do not invest in the community and the housing stock, what we have now will just perpetuate. . . . Think of where we would be now if they had [started] 15 years ago.”

The lack of UB-controlled housing did not cause the recent violence. But stable neighborhoods smother crime.

UB’s vice president for student affairs, Dennis Black, said the focus is on adding to the mature mix of grad students and faculty in University Heights.

“I don’t know of much conversation going on [at UB] about us getting back into the buy-rehab-sell business,” Black said. “There is not much talk of us as a developer.”

Maybe it is time for the talk to start. The neighborhood—and its problems— are not going away. Unless UB finally decides to step beyond the fence, I think the next 15 years will look a lot like the last 15.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

UB Community Service Day with Brush Up Buffalo

As part of the University at Buffalo’s inaugural UB Community Service Day on Saturday, June 20, the university will participate in Brush Up Buffalo 2009. All community members, faculty, staff, students, and alumni are encouraged to volunteer.

Founded in 1996, Brush Up Buffalo is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that organizes an annual event to repaint about 10 to 15 low-income, single-family, owner-occupied homes and revitalize city neighborhoods. This year’s event takes place in the University District, directly south of the UB South Campus. The University at Buffalo is proud to be a key sponsor.

Registration for Brush Up Buffalo 2009 is simple and can be done on the Brush Up Buffalo web site. You will be asked to include your name, e-mail, phone number, t-shirt size, and lunch preference.

About 500 volunteers from across the region are expected to participate this year and the organization hopes to repaint approximately 15 homes. More homes may be painted if additional volunteers register. There is no cost to participate, but volunteers must be at least 18 years of age.

All Brush Up Buffalo volunteers will meet at the UB South Campus beginning at 7:30 a.m. Parking is in the Diefendorf Lot off Sherman Road at Bailey Avenue. Buses are provided to transport volunteer teams to and from houses. Each volunteer will receive breakfast, refreshments on-site at the houses, a Brush Up Buffalo t-shirt, and lunch back at the UB South Campus.

With 30 to 40 volunteers assigned to each house, the painting takes about three to four hours to complete. Most volunteers are finished with the entire day by 1:00 p.m. Most supplies are provided, but volunteers are encouraged to bring extra ladders if possible. No painting experience is necessary, and union painters will be at each house to provide assistance.

Please consider taking part in this unique opportunity to volunteer with friends and neighbors to help beautify the neighborhood.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Be in the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk

The Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk has been a University Heights tradition since 2002, created to showcase the neighborhoods surrounding the UB South Campus, including University Heights & Eggertsville, while building community among neighbors. It is a joint initiative between the University at Buffalo and local neighborhood partners and is held rain or shine.

At this time we are receiving entry forms to participate in the walk. There is no fee to enter a garden in the walk and no garden is too small! This event is part of the University and community’s larger efforts of making the neighborhoods surrounding the South Campus an exciting, safe and vibrant place to live, work and play.

The walk itself will be on Saturday July 18th from 11:00am - 4:00pm. Maps will be available at the University Community Farmers Market on the South Campus on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue from 8:00am - 1:00pm. They will also available at 22 Larchmont Rd; 135 and 405 Capen Blvd; and 67 Highgate Ave during the walk hours from 11:00am – 4:00pm.

All participants will be invited to a pre-event gathering on Friday July 17 in the neighborhood to meet other gardeners and pick up maps and your signs for the walk. Location and time will be distributed upon your confirmation of participation.

All participants are invited to leave their signs up on Sunday July 19 so you can see the other gardens on the walk.

Contact UB Community Relations for more information and an entry form at 829-3099. See photos from the Garden Walk here. Photo by Nancy J. Parisi.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Police Make Arrest in the Javon Jackson Murder

From the Buffalo News

Updated: 05/28/09 07:37 AM
Amherst man held in slaying of UB grad
By Lou Michel
Theresa Williams can hardly believe it.

On Wednesday, she learned Buffalo police charged a young man with killing her son only hours after he had graduated from the University at Buffalo a little more than two weeks ago.

The Bronx woman also found out that day that earlier this week one of her son’s roommates was fatally gunned down while visiting a woman in an Amherst apartment.

It’s a lot to absorb in one day, but Williams says she is certain justice will now come to pass for her son, Javon R. Jackson, with the arrest of Da- Mario Cordelius, 20, of Amherst.

Cordelius is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Jackson, 23, who was out celebrating his graduation from UB after earning a degree in electrical engineering.

“He [Cordelius] has taken something from me that I can never replace, but my son will have justice. I am suffering,” Williams told The Buffalo News in a telephone interview from her home.

Any satisfaction that police scored an arrest was tempered by news that 21-year-old Jesse Garnett had been killed Monday night in an unrelated case. The killer remains at large.

“The pain and irony of these two young men who lived under the same roof is unbelievable,” Williams said. “I had the opportunity to meet Jesse. Javon introduced me to him. This makes me feel Javon now has been reunited with a friend in his new life in heaven.”

The break in the Jackson case was announced late Wednesday afternoon by city officials who gathered at the corner of Main Street and Lisbon Avenue, a short distance from the May 10 crime scene.

Mayor Byron W. Brown and Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson, accompanied by homicide detectives and city and UB police officers, said the arrest was the result of an intensive investigation that still continues.

While details remain sketchy on what could have provoked Cordelius to allegedly kill Jackson, Gipson said Cordelius might have been punched in the face by someone other than Jackson.

Brown said one of three video surveillance cameras operated by city police provided police with key information that helped in the arrest.

Cordelius, Gipson added, became a suspect early in the investigation based on the surveillance video and a number of interviews conducted by detectives.

Homicide detectives questioned Cordelius several times, including Wednesday morning, when he appeared in City Court to answer a summons on a criminal mischief charge. As he was questioned, Cordelius confessed to killing Jackson, police said.

Garnett’s family members Wednesday said they are shattered by his death. “We definitely all hope for [an arrest], hopefully soon,” said Richard Garnett, Jesse’s twin brother, a UB psychology major.

Police in Buffalo and Amherst say it is a tragic coincidence that two roommates would share the same violent fate in unrelated cases.

Two days after Jackson’s death, Jesse Garnett stood in Jackson’s bedroom on Lisbon Avenue as Williams packed up her dead son’s belongings. He made a public plea for better protection of UB students.

Garnett’s own words seem haunting now that he has joined Jackson on the list of recent homicides.

“What happened to Javon was just crazy. Kids can’t go out and have a good time anymore,” Garnett said that day in an interview with The News.

Garnett, who was not a UB student, explained that he had moved to Buffalo eight months ago from Yonkers to live with his twin brother. “It has to be safe for the students and anybody else,” Jesse Garnett had said. “We need more security.”

Garnett was shot several times at about 9:30 p. m. Monday in a Yale Avenue apartment east of Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst in what may have been a lover’s triangle, authorities said.

He was visiting a woman and her 2- year-old son. Amherst police described the woman as Garnett’s friend, stopping just short of saying he was her boyfriend.

Andre Ridgeway, 24, of Buffalo, has been identified as a person of interest wanted for questioning in the shooting and was an acquaintance of Garnett, according to Amherst Assistant Police Chief Timothy Green.

In what seemed a surreal replay of two weeks ago when Jackson’s parents were packing up their deceased son’s clothes and books in the Lisbon Avenue apartment, Jesse Garnett’s family, some of them immigrants from Liberia, filled that apartment Wednesday to do the same.

And, like the Jacksons, they had another grim task — making arrangements with Brian K. Lewis, the same Sycamore Street funeral director who had made arrangements to send Jackson’s remains downstate.

Burdened with grief, Garnett family members asked to be left alone while they tended to their son and nephew’s final affairs.

If the Jackson family’s grief is any type of road map of what the Garnett family will travel, they can expect a long journey.

“I still can’t imagine not coming home with my son,” Williams said from her home in the Bronx. “We were counting the minutes. Javon was so excited about completing his degree. He had never given up on it. I was calling him every day and he’d tell me, ‘Mom, I’m studying,’ or ‘I just have a few more things to do.’ ”

The grieving mother also said she remains touched by Jesse’s twin brother, Richard. “He traveled from Buffalo to New York City to be at Javon’s funeral, and I was comforted by him. That showed me the type of friends Javon was involved with,” Williams said.

And while the Garnetts declined to talk, Javon’s mother said, “I know what they are going through.”

Find this article at:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alternative Spring Break

Here is the video from this Spring's cleanup of linear park with UB students, faculty and staff and the City of Buffalo's Mayor's Impact Team.

Buffalo News Story , University Heights

Below is the Buffalo News Story about crime and other issues in University Heights.
I think it is a well balanced article accurately describing the current atmosphere and concerns in the heights.
A few points about this article I'd like to point out:
1: I think bike patrols and a larger presence in the Heights by the University police is a great idea and long over due.
2: What Canisius College has done in their neighborhood is sort of a model for what UB could be doing. Yes I know there are far more students at UB, but the presence in the community and the way Canisius has bought up property and become part of the community fabric is a great thing, UB does not need to reinvent the wheel here.

Updated: 05/17/09 08:57 AM
Safety issues top agenda for South Campus neighbors
By Lou Michel and Phil Fairbanks

John Proudman didn’t relish the job. His moving company had been hired to pack up Javon R. Jackson’s belongings following the murder of the University at Buffalo graduate three days earlier.
And then, it got worse.
Out of nowhere, it seemed, came a series of gunshots shattering the late morning stillness on Lisbon Avenue.
“We were sitting out in the truck, waiting for his family to arrive, when we heard three gunshots,” said Proudman, an employee of Lincoln Moving & Storage. “It was tough. I was about to leave when his mother pulled up.”
The fact that someone would use a gun in broad daylight, in the middle of what seemed to be a peaceful neighborhood, struck Proudman and his coworker as bizarre.
Unfortunately, crime is part of life for residents of University Heights, the neighborhood that surrounds one of Buffalo’s enduring economic engines, UB’s South Campus, and where off-campus students and city residents mix.
And it might be getting worse. “This is a wake-up call that UB needs to take care of its students first,” said junior Chris Scibilia, who was Jackson’s neighbor. “It’s great that the university wants to increase its standards and create thousands of jobs, but students are its legacy.”
Like it or not, muggings, assaults, burglaries and homicides are part of life in a neighborhood many consider crucial to Buffalo’s renaissance.
In the past three years, three homicides — including last Sunday’s shooting death of the 23-year-old Bronx man the day after his graduation — plus one beating so severe that a UB student was left paralyzed have occurred in the neighborhood.
No one is suggesting the Heights ranks among Buffalo’s most dangerous neighborhoods, but there is a feeling, even among longtime residents, that crime is on the rise.
“My father called after he heard about the death and told me to start applying to other colleges,” said Scibilia, a Rochester native.
Few people are as familiar with University Heights and what ails it as neighborhood activist David J. Ellerbrock.
For Ellerbrock, president of the University Heights Collaborative, the rejuvenation of his community hinges on improved public safety.
And that, he says, depends on its stakeholders — residents, students, business owners and UB employees — becoming better acquainted with each other.
“My argument is there are things we can do tomorrow to increase safety in the Heights,” Ellerbrock said. “Having those kind of connections and relationships are the essence of a true, safe and enjoyable neighborhood.”
He singled out UB, the neighborhood’s largest institution, as a player that needs to get more involved in the Heights.
“What we haven’t seen is a push on behalf of UB decision-makers to encourage UB employees who live in the neighborhood to become engaged in neighborhood revitalization,” Ellerbrock said.
He praised UB President John B. Simpson for his UB 2020 initiative, which aims to increase the student population by 10,000 and increase faculty and staff by 2,500.
But once the infrastructure and jobs are in place, Ellerbrock says, he wants to know “how that changes the culture here in the Heights.”
Jackson’s death, he added, will provide a further test “of UB’s leadership in this community.” Ellerbrock thinks a good first step would be the addition of more police patrols by either the city or the university in the neighborhood around UB.
City police say they had increased patrols prior to Jackson’s killing.
But residents and students say an even greater effort is needed and point to UB for help.
UB’s 61-member police force does patrol the campus and the streets on its perimeter, but it does not go into the neighborhoods around the campus.
Should that change?
“It’s a possibility, and we’re considering all options,” said UB Police Chief Gerald W. Schoenle Jr.
At a meeting held last week, city and university officials discussed expanding UB’s presence on Main Street and adding more surveillance cameras to the area. The meeting was held at the direction of Simpson and Mayor Byron W. Brown.
“Where are the crowds? Where are the issues? On Main Street,” said Dennis R. Black, UB’s vice president for student affairs. “We want to increase our visibility on Main Street.”
One improvement might be UB police officers on foot and bicycle patrols along Main.
“We’re talking about getting out of the cars,” Black said.
The university also might expand its use of surveillance cameras. UB has three cameras operating now, including one that may have provided police information about the Jackson shooting.
Black also noted that the first officer on the scene at last Sunday’s shooting was a UB police officer.
At Canisius College, farther south on Main Street, 25 public safety officers routinely patrol the streets surrounding the college where students live in off-campus housing.
“We go into the neighborhoods where our students reside. We’re New York Statesworn peace officers, and that gives us the ability to make arrests on and off campus,” said Gary M. Everett, the college’s public safety director. “We have a highly visible patrol force, and everyone notices it, including the bad guys.”
Unlike UB’s South Campus, with its close proximity to nightspots on Main Street — which sometimes fuel alcohol-related crimes — Canisius does not have a nearby nightlife district.
But, to be sure, Canisius students are not immune to neighborhood crimes.
“People do get mugged and robbed,” senior Peter Leoni said. “We get e-mails informing us of the crimes.”
Schoenle thinks it’s unfair to compare Canisius with its approximately 3,400 students to UB, the biggest school in the State University of New York system, with 28,000 students.
And while not discussing the Jackson homicide directly, Schoenle said, “An incident like that could have happened anywhere.”
The possibility that UB and Buffalo police might jointly patrol Main Street is the kind of police initiative that Michael K. Clarke, a neighborhood development expert, thinks is needed in the Heights.
“Greater collaboration between various police agencies is essential to give people the feeling of safety they need to invest and live in the neighborhood,” said Clarke, executive director of the Local Initiatives Support Corp. in Buffalo.
Clarke is quick to note that crime is not the only challenge chewing away at the Heights’ foundation.
“You have undergraduates moving away from the neighborhood, living in university apartments on or near the North Campus in Amherst, and the lowering of income and economic potential over the years,” said Clarke.
Yet, he sees at least one important bright spot: Heights residents want to preserve their neighborhood.
He pointed to members of the Collaborative, St. Joseph University Catholic Church, Gloria J. Parks Community Center and the local business community on Main Street.
“They understand that the perception of the neighborhood is [that it is] unsafe and undermines their efforts,” he said.
No one has to tell John Proudman about perceptions. The three gun shots he heard in broad daylight last week are proof enough for him. and