SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Less than a week after the gang shooting at Destiny USA on Black Friday, NewsChannel 9 has learned that Syracuse Police held a meeting with mall management. Among the topics discussed was the idea of Syracuse Police installing an office at Destiny USA.
Gang activity is an increasing problem at Destiny USA, the Onondaga County District Attorney tells NewsChannel 9.
The idea of a police substation was discussed in March of 2018, right after two stabbings happened within a week. At the time, then-Police Chief Frank Fowler liked the idea, but he worried about how to pay for it.
NewsChannel 9 made the trip down the Thruway Thursday to tour the Ontario County Sheriff’s office at Eastview Mall outside of Rochester.
For more than ten years, mall owners Wilmorite have provided the sheriff’s office a physical space visible to mall shoppers. The mall also provides the funding for three full-time deputies to be based on the mall, two on duty at a time, without the expense being covered by taxpayers.
In 2018, deputies made almost 200 arrests at the mall and responded to 2,000 calls for help.
Eastview Mall is different than Destiny USA, being about half the size, only one floor, and being located in a suburb of Rochester instead of right in the city.
Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson says gang activity is not an issue at Eastview, like it is at Destiny USA, but his deputies stop a lot of stolen merchandise, help with medical emergencies and are ready for something even worse.
After not returning emails Monday and Tuesday, a spokesperson responded to NewsChannel 9 Thursday, but says mall management isn’t ready to “share insight” into its considerations for a police substation.
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