Ithaca Mayor and Police Chief call for public cooperation in wake of violent crimes

The Mayor of Ithaca and Ithaca Police Chief are calling for greater public cooperation with police in the wake of three recent violent crimes in the city.

Mayor Svante Myrick and Acting Police Chief John Barber pointed out that in the last several weeks there have been two stabbings and a shooting. While the incidents are unrelated, they have one common theme: all three victims are refusing to cooperate with police. Additionally, witnesses to one of the stabbings are also refusing to cooperate.

Mayor Myrick told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "We know the answers are out there. We know someone knows who is doing this. We know if only Ithacans will speak up and speak out about crime, we can end violence on the streets."

The Mayor pointed out that a recent phone survey showed that 80 percent of Ithacans trust the police department. But, he says, there's a number of residents who do not.

Geneva Steenhuis told Kenyon, "As a person of color, I sometimes feel like cops judge too quick."

Janice Tucker added, "They're real aggressive and they think you might be involved in it (a crime) and you're not."

In hopes of improving relations, Officer Jamie Williamson, says the police chief has decided to place two-person foot patrols during the evening hours in Ithaca's West Hill neighborhood, which is plagued by violent crime.

Williamson says "the specialized patrol teamâ?¦ can interact with citizens, regain their confidence, and obtain any information to help the prosecution of these crimes."

Police tip lines are available to anyone who does not wish to speak directly to an officer, and tipsters can remain anonymous. The tip line number is 607-697-0333. Tips can also be sent by anonymously online.

Ithaca Police also have a Facebook page where people can leave private messages.