Niagara Gazette

Opinion

February 25, 2013

HIGGS: Community questions and answers

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls high burglary rate was questioned.

Federal prosecutor James Kennedy stated stolen goods appear on eBay and Violante agreed many cases are difficult to arrest and prove. People are getting smarter. Without tips from citizens they are hard to prove and prosecute.

“What is the street drug called Molly?”

Kennedy stated it is a nasty drug — a form of methamphetamine — a synthetic drug, spices, bath salts, all really nasty stuff. Violante chimed in that possession for sale is only a violation and this has to change. Now the maximum penalty is 15 days in jail.

“A senior received a call from someone who was trying to get their credit card number. Who do we report these scams to?”

Kennedy said call the FBI at 856-7800 and ask for duty agent. My comment: Niagara County Sheriff’s Office also has an FBI agent assigned to their office who can assist. He recently attended one of our individual block club meetings and offered assistance. He can be reached at 438-3457.

“When a property owner is brought into housing court but doesn’t have financial means to address violations, what is in place?”

Virtuoso said his department tries to steer them in the right direction. Community Development, Center City, Highland Community Revitalization and NiaCap. His department has no role in direct financing of needed repairs. Seth Piccirillo, director of Community Development, stated his department has Occupancy Rehab programs. But code enforcement requirements need to be met for eligibility. A Catch 22 situation.

“How can we change the InRem auction to make a homestead act instead?

We need more homeowners to reduce transparency of renters,” Picirrillo stated, “let’s get these homes in the hands of people with an agreement. Try to market availability of homes that we (the city) owns. If you are willing to rehab, CD will set up an agreement with you.” Call 286-8801 for more information.

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