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Feel Safer?

by on August 18, 2009

Ahh yes… another “successful” gun buyback brings in 700 guns, and now, don’t you just feel so much safer walking the streets of the city? Maybe if you’re an anti-gun nut, you might feel good about yourself, but the people who live in the city don’t seem to be comforted.

A gun buyback program is being hailed a success by city officials but some residents are troubled by the recent spike in violence, including two shootings in Buffalo in the last 24 hours.

The Gun Buyback Program is exactly as how it is billed: the city will buy back your gun, no questions asked. Its an effort to take weapons off the streets. But residents who live in the neighborhoods where the gun warfare is waged say that this program is not staving off the summer spike in violence.

Jack Saviola picks up a tattered piece of yellow crime scene tape. “More crime scene tape,” he said. “This is getting to be regular occurrence in this neighborhood.” Saviola has lived in this westside neighborhood for 22 years, and he’s seen it go from bad to worse.

“Since the last 6AM drug sweep about three months ago, there’s been more violent crimes up and down this block than anywhere else in the city,” said Saviola.

Last night, two teen boys were shot while riding their bikes at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Dewitt. And this morning on Plymouth Avenue, someone was shot in the leg. All victims are expected to live, and Saviola doesn’t expect anything about this culture of street warfare to change.

“I’m not hearing anything from city officials. They’re talking about gun buybacks and job programs. They’re not doing anything to get these punks off the streets,” said Saviola.

Let’s not forget that this was not the first gun buyback program… it was third. And this was not the first one to be dubbed a “success” either. Sure, Byron Brown gets to look like he is doing something about gun crime, but gun buyback programs don’t have a record of result beyond the numbers of guns collected. When I lived in Massachusetts, I saw how the gun buyback failed to reduce gun crime in the city, but gave the mayor of Boston some positive press. Here in Buffalo, I see the same thing happening, and it is just sad how no one learns.

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  1. What Has Brown Done for You?- The Buffalo Bean

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