BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is one of western New York's premier assets and an evolving complex that is known around the world. But some employees say they don't feel safe, especially at night. Does the campus need more security?
The multi-billion dollar complex sits right next to the Fruit Belt. Nearly every day, a couple of crimes targeting employees and visitors take place. In a one month period from the end of May until the end of June, 30 thefts, 10 burglaries, six assaults and two robberies took place within a three-block radius of the campus, according to the website SpotCrime.com.
Caitlyn Ash is just one of many medical campus workers who question their safety. She says she wouldn't feel comfortable walking alone and "there's been a couple times where it's been a little iffy, I felt."
Brenna Gerwitz mainly works here mornings and says she feels safe at work. But that would be different if she stayed late.
"I've heard about stories. I've been here about a year. I haven't been exposed to too many stories, but the stories that I have heard, I would not walk alone to my car at night. I would probably want someone with me, a couple people," she said.
She added, "And public safety, too. I don't even know if they have a number or anything. Maybe that would be helpful, too. They could publicize that and make it public knowledge. 'Hey, if you ever need help, and you're down here call this number and we can come to your rescue.'"
We took those concerns and comments to Buffalo Niagara Medical Center's director of planning to see what's being done to make employees and visitors feel more safe. He says the campus is safe overall, despite being located next to the Fruit Belt.
"Because a lot of the safety concerns are perception and not reality, as we rebuild the environment down here, we're trying to do everything we can to make it feel safe, be clean, and all in all be a friendly environment for everyone that comes down here," Michael Ball explained.
Roswell Park, Kaleida, and UB all have public safety at the medical campus. Twice a month public safety meets with Buffalo Police and NFTA Police to share information and crime statistics to see where crimes are taking place and how to address those areas.
The campus also has patrols on both foot and car, 24 hours a day, as well as surveillance cameras. It's also encouraged that employees store the number for public safety in their phones if they need help. Employees or visitors can also ask for an escort.
Ball said, "We understand that as more people come down to the medical campus for health care and to work as we continue to build more buildings, it could become a target for people who might want to engage in criminal activity. So we're doing everything we can proactively to make sure the campus stays safe."
Just last week, Kaleida public safety officials were granted peace officer status after four years of lobbying. This now allows them to make arrests and openly carry guns. Kaleida says they don't plan on having any more officers with weapons on the campus, but having that peace officer status will allow them to act quickly if there is a situation.
If you would like more information on public safety at the medical campus, you can follow this link.
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