Lansing Township Sheriff addresses public safety concerns to Lansing
Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne and Sue Ellen Holmes, Manager of the Milton Meadows Apartment Complex (42 Auburn Road), met with Lansing City Council on March 17 to discuss public safety issues with residents to give to the community.
The decision to host such a meeting was made based on the recent incident where two vehicles chased and shot at each other before crashing on Auburn Road on March 13th.
There were a variety of thoughts and concerns shared by members of the public during the meeting. Local resident Jessica MacDonald asked if it would be worth exploring the facility as the Sheriff’s Department has a limited number of MPs patrolling the county at any given time – there are three or four MPs per shift working in the county, according to Osborne patrol (27 in total) a city police.
“Given the current public safety reform guidelines that apply to the county, not just the Ithaca Police Department, as many like to say, our MPs will stretch too thin,” MacDonald said. “We need our own officers who are able to actually monitor the police in the community.”
However, Osborne said the city shouldn’t try to set up its own police station as that would lead to an increase in taxes.
“Obviously, when it comes to taxes, a village has its own police force, they will have their own village tax,” Osborne said. “We don’t have that in Lansing City. Of course we pay city taxes, but we have a hard time saying that you will set up a police station specifically for Lansing and your taxes will not go up. “
City overseer Ed LaVigne said there will be talks in the future about solutions to this problem, one of which is the ability to recruit more MPs. Currently, LaVigne said he wanted to find out what the sheriff’s department could do in the near future to improve residents’ safety.
“There is some light at the end of the tunnel. This will not continue indefinitely, ”said LaVigne. “Are there bad characters, yes? But there are bad characters everywhere. … In the meantime, I just ask Sheriff Osborne for a little more instructions that fit into another conversation than what our citizens can do to be diligent [moving] Forward. At the moment everything is up to date and we have to be extremely careful. “
Milton Meadows is an area of the parish that has recently seen high levels of criminal activity as residents of the apartments and / or guests or individuals staying in one of the apartments but not on the lease. However, with the courts still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Holmes cannot file eviction papers for anyone who has been involved in such activities.
Even so, she still takes responsibility for the type of behavior and actions that took place in the apartment. She refuses to use the pandemic as an excuse for not being able to resolve such situations.
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A few Lansing residents who live near Milton Meadows or have a family member or friend at the facility spoke about cases of illegal behavior at the meeting last Wednesday. A parishioner, Colleen, said she saw people from the complex trespassing of their property and multiple verbal and physical disputes either at the end of their driveway or in front of their home.
“It was very close to home for me, and I was scared,” Colleen said as she recalled one of the physical fights that took place on her property. “I was really scared, Sheriff.”
Robin Adams, a Lansing resident and daughter of Colleen, said she witnessed drug trafficking at the apartment facility and had a troubling confrontation with a resident of the facility outside the complex. (Adams recalled a case in Lansing Market where a Milton Meadows resident asked people outside for money. People in the market asked the person to leave, but the person went on. She said the person had confronted them while she was sitting in her car.)
LaVigne mentioned that Milton Meadows will be installing surveillance cameras in the facility, which Osborne said would be a good idea.
“For one thing, cameras offer residents a degree of security,” said Osborne. “People tend not to do that much when they know they are being viewed on camera, and it also gives us valuable evidence when things go bad.”
One person, Bryan Morse, asked Holmes if they thought Lansing crime had increased since the Milton Meadows apartments were built, and Holmes said it was a possibility.
“I’m going to get up on my feet and just tell you 72 families live in a smaller area. I’m sure that probably contributes to that,” said Holmes. “But you should also know that throughout New York state … Domestic disputes and calls in New York state have increased by 30 percent, and the calls we receive, the problems we have. [are] primarily domestic. “
Council members also made it clear that while Milton Meadows has reported a large amount of criminal activity, it is not the only apartment complex in the community that is experiencing the same problems. In fact, Osborne stated that Milton Meadows was not involved in the recent shootings and eventual car accidents that occurred a little over a week ago.
“This incident was undoubtedly a very rare occurrence and that is what makes it so scary,” he said. “But I don’t want to paint the picture that everyone in Lansing is now in danger. It was a very rare occurrence. … We’ll keep working and hopefully things like this won’t happen again. “