The streets of Jamestown are becoming safer thanks to a crackdown on narcotics-related crimes this summer by area law enforcement.
Since June 1, there have been eight reported arrests made by the Jamestown Police Department for narcotics, a 100 percent increase over reported arrests in May. Combined, local law enforcement agencies have made 24 narcotics arrests in 28 days.
The latest in the string of narcotics-related arrests came Thursday morning when members from the Jamestown Police Department, along with U.S. Marshals and the Violent Fugitive Task Force took Andrew Garner, 32, of Buffalo, and Alex Oliveras, 22, of Jamestown, into custody.
Oliveras was also arrested earlier this month on the same charge, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Other subjects that have been taken into custody by the Jamestown Police Department in the last month include Adrianel Rivera-Rodriguez Jr., 33, of Jamestown; Julie A. Carlson, 50, of Jamestown; Keith Carlson, 54, of Jamestown; Vincent D. Carper, 33, of Buffalo; and May S. Stilson, 34, of Jamestown.
"We took a look at the increases we saw in drug activity," said JPD Chief Harry Snellings. "We took a different direction and a more aggressive approach to the investigations."
Over the course of the eight arrests that have occurred since June 1, the Jamestown Police Department has seized over $20,000 worth of drugs, as well as large quantities of cash and other related paraphernalia. One of the largest busts in recent history occurred June 25 and resulted in $15,000 worth of uncut, powdered cocaine and $18,000 cash being seized as evidence, along with marijuana and other narcotics.
"Frequency like this is relatively new for us because of the way that we're aggressively pursuing these cases now," said JPD Capt. Bob Samuelson. "We have two detectives assigned specifically to narcotics investigations and the other detectives also assist in those cases."
According to Samuelson, the TIPS line for the JPD has been instrumental in many of these recent cases.
"We're getting multiple tips every day from different people," he said. "With those tips, we're able to plot exactly where we need to be checking for activity. All of the arrests this month would've been extremely difficult without these tips."
Each tip that the JPD receives is investigated, and each one is a unique case. With every tip that they are given, they are better able to pinpoint trouble areas and issues within the city.
"Each and every tip that we get is different. How we approach it depends on what kind of tip, whether it's general or descriptive and what kind of activity it's regarding," said Samuelson. He continued, "Sometimes people are very descriptive, telling us exactly when and where the activity occurs and who is involved. Sometimes the tips is as simple as, "This guy is hiding out at this location." When we get these tips, we plot them out and organize them on a spreadsheet daily, then they're evaluated. Each case is handled accordingly."
The JPD has two different accounts on Facebook, as well as the TIPS line, all of which can be used to deliver tips about criminal activities in the area. The Facebook pages were started as a way to reach out to a section of the community that is more comfortable using computers and Facebook to communicate rather than a telephone. According to Samuelson however, the TIPS line is still where the JPD receives the bulk of the information from the public.
"A lot of the crime that we deal with seems to be drug-related," said Samuelson. "Burglaries, larcenies, robberies. Even though we don't have the big city violence like some of the larger neighboring cities, everything seems to be drug-related."
The JPD is actively seeking tips that anyone may have on criminal activity and aggressively pursuing them.
"I can't speak enough in the value of our community's input and assistance," Snellings said. "We continue to encourage the cooperation that we have seen. It goes beyond the drugs ... it is all the information that we receive regarding any cases we are investigating."
Residents should be on the lookout for strange amounts of traffic, both foot and vehicle, at certain times of the day. Large numbers of people coming and going from a location in a short periods of time can also be a sign that illegal activity may be occurring. The same cars returning to a location more often than normal may also signal that these activities are occurring.
"We'll continue aggressively going after all of these suspects since drugs seem to be the link between almost all of the crimes that we investigate in the city," said Samuelson.
The JPD TIPS line can be contacted at 483-8477 (483-TIPS) or through the JPD Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jamestownpolicedepartment. All tips will be kept strictly confidential and anyone with information on the illegal sale of drugs or any other crime is asked to contact the JPD.