Niagara Falls continues to grab headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Out-of-control juveniles. Shootings. Random gun play.
On Monday, police captured a man who reportedly chained a woman inside the basement of a home.
That last crime nugget hit the national wires and cable news network airwaves, getting picked up by the likes of Fox News and other high-profile media outlets.
It’s June, which means the larger story about Niagara Falls should be focused on the city’s growth as a tourism community and plans for a robust 2019 tourism season.
Instead, the American side of the Falls continues to project an image more fitting with Crime Alley.
It’s a shame and honestly an affront to all of the private business owners who have a stake in the game downtown and elsewhere within the city limits.
The unfortunate statements above do not address the other obvious issue where all of the mayhem the Falls has experienced in the past week — yes, one week — is concerned.
What about the residents? What about the homeowners?
How are they feeling about their city right about now?
Do they feel safe in the wake of so many frightening incidents, including an overnight shootout that took place roughly one block from the entrance to the Seneca Niagara Casino.
They may rightfully be questioning their investment in this community and who could blame them?
Their relatives and friends who live outside the city may well be encouraging them to move before things get worse, and who could blame them either?
Crime tends to ebb and flow and maybe this past week is just one of those “high” points where a lot of violent activity happens all at once, making it feel to outsiders like such activity must just be par for the course of daily business.
Crimes don’t occur every minute of every waking hour around here, but the city’s negative perception where crime is concerned is reinforced with every high-profile incident, and that’s a huge problem when you are trying to create an inviting and attractive atmosphere near the Falls, in the downtown area and across the city as a whole.
In a year when voters will choose a new mayor, it’s easy enough for residents to express a preference for one candidate or another, believing one particular person with the right ideas will be able to address the challenges the city has failed to address all these years.
In reality, all that ails the Falls is far beyond the work of any single individual and fixing it requires more than the powers-that-be inside city hall can muster.
Allies on the state and federal level as well as the private sector should be enlisted to engage in the effort to get this place turned around.
Niagara Falls, New York, USA should be a premiere destination in the eyes of the region, the state and, indeed, the entire nation.
Just visualizing a trip here should conjure up images of fun, excitement, relaxation and pleasantness.
Instead, once again, the city continues to garner local, statewide and national attention for all the very wrong reasons.
At this time of year, in this city, with that mighty waterfall, Niagara Falls should be achieving to a much higher standard.
Our current condition is not just disgraceful for those of us who live and work here.
It’s a national embarrassment, or at least it should be considered as such by the powers-that-be in places like Albany and even Washington, D.C.
There’s just no excuse for it.