JAMESTOWN – When Mayor Sam Teresi delivered his State of the City Address on Monday Night, he mentioned two specific types of crime that have been on the rise during the past year. Teresi said that in 2014, the city’s department of public safety plans to focus on both the growing drug problem in the city, along with the increase in arsons.
“During 2014, our outstanding public safety professionals will be intensifying their efforts to attack and further reduce two scourges which threaten the vitality of every area of this city,” Teresi said. “I’m referring to the distribution and usage of illegal narcotics and structure arsons, which not only destroy the fabric and tax base of our community but, even more importantly, needlessly place the lives and safety of our first responders and all of our citizens in jeopardy.”
This was apparently the first time during a State of the City address that the mayor specifically pointed to the growing drug problem, as well as arsons. The city’s longest serving council member, Tony Dolce (R-Ward II), said he wasn’t surprised that the mayor brought up these two issues, as it’s something all city officials have been keeping a close eye on.
“What this starting to do – as you hear residents say – it’s creeping. It’s starting to creep up. It’s not just this neighborhood or that neighborhood now, its the entire city,” Dolce said. “I think he gets the message and we get the message that we have to be more aggressive and have to go after this. This is a huge quality of life issue.”
As for enforcement, Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings said that his officers will be stepping up efforts to locate the drug suppliers and get them off the streets. He said that while that may be challenging with a limited budget, it is not impossible. He said he will also continue to collaborate with other police agencies, not only in addressing the drug issue, but also the recent rash of arsons.
“It’s a collaborative effort between the police department and the fire department. we work together – they have officers that are trained arson investigators. We also have a couple of detectives that are trained. They work together as a team. We’ve also called in our state resources on a couple of arsons we’ve had. So we always use any and all resources that are available to us.”
In 2013, Jamestown saw a steep increase in the number of heroin and Methamphetamine cases. In addition, there were several arson cases that remain unsolved.