It’s 2 a.m.
Club music pulses in the thick night air as a mob of sweaty and drunken individuals control the street.
Heated words are exchanged between several groups as the initial violence erupts.
The first fight breaks out with a flurry of punches and kicks as people are jostled about.
In the chaos of combat, people lose track of their friends, and humans devolve into their primordial state.
But for this group, fisticuffs will not suffice. A flash of cold steel penetrates the night before landing in its target.
The blood begins flowing and tempers continue to rise as the combat zone expands and makes it way up the block.
Shots ring out from a handgun as people scatter in fear…
No, this isn’t a scene from downtown Chicago, Atlanta, or even Schenectady.
This was last Friday night on Caroline Street in our little city in the country…Saratoga Springs.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: It is a quick and slippery transition from a beautiful upscale resort community to a crime-ridden deteriorating city….and we are quickly slipping. This most recent event comes on the heels of another barfight that spilled into the streets and involved a table used as a weapon, assaults on officers, assaults on teens, threats on officers and threats of burning this city down to destroy our economy.
Let this serve as another wake-up call to our elected officials…We want our city taken back; we want law and order restored; and we want our families to feel safe downtown.
Decisive actions need to be taken, and they need to be taken promptly.
Let’s start by listening to our law enforcement leaders rather than community agitators. They are the experts, and they have our best interests at heart. And let’s keep in mind the Pygmalion Effect, which states people tend to perform up to the level that others expect of them. Right now, it seems like we have some pretty low expectations for the public.
On a more specific note, here are some suggestions that should be considered:
1. I know it isn’t a popular decision with the bar owners, but the closing time needs to be revisited. If you aren’t familiar with our ordinance, Saratoga Springs bars can stay open until 4 a.m., while surrounding communities close at 2 a.m. This translates into large numbers of undesirable elements making the trip from Albany, Troy and Schenectady, to Caroline Street where the liquor flows freely (well, not free) for another few hours.
As mom always said, nothing good happens after midnight. Midnight may be pushing it, but 2 a.m. seems like a reasonable cutoff. If you can’t drink enough by 2 a.m., maybe you have some other issues you should be exploring. Let’s get this proposal back on the table!
2. Lock down Caroline Street with a heavy police presence. For the past year we have heard a steady mantra of “Defund the Police.” How about we Refund the Police and exponentially increase the police presence in Saratoga Springs? While this would not solve the issue short term (the trainees will be in police academy for months) we can do lateral transfers from other departments and borrow officers from the State Police and the Sheriff’s department.
3. Reimagine our image and our culture. Do we want to be known as the homeless capital of upstate NY where BLM shuts down intersections and harasses tourists while gang members (yes, gang members) control Caroline Street? I will take a bold leap and say that the overwhelming majority of residents do NOT want this.
This is our community. This is our hometown. This is where our children go to school and where our neighbors run small businesses. This is where tourists flock to escape the stress of daily life and where the world’s best jockeys, racehorses and ballerinas come to perform.
Save Saratoga Now!