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Mayor Sheehan to explore closing Albany corner stores earlier

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - A possible step toward combating the outbreak of violence in Albany - that involves closing the city's locally owned corner stores earlier than normal.

It was a topic Mayor Kathy Sheehan touched upon in her sit down interview with CBS6 regarding the uptick in violence the city has seen recently, instead of enacting a city wide curfew, which she says may increase tensions instead of make things better.

"Limiting the hours of the corner stores because you have people who are hanging out there late at night. "

It's something the Mayor says may be a contributing factor to the uptick in violence.

"You know you're not getting a gallon of milk usually at 1 o'clock in the morning," Sheehan said.

Higher patrols of corner stores in hot spots of the city is something community leaders like Greg Aidala have pushed for.

"I think it's a good approach. I think it's a good start," Aidala said.

His family has had an auto shop on Quail St. for 75 years. He's called for an end to the violence that he's watched take over the neighborhood.

"With certain stores as people know within the city of Albany, there are serious problems with loitering, there might be drug activity, and I think that's a good first step to possibly curb it," Aidala said.

But local corner store owners are a bit concerned. CBS6 spoke to a number of store owners who did not want to go on camera. Those who shared their concerns with us told us closing their shops early means less hours and therefore less revenue to pay rent. Some say, if this were to be city-wide, it's not fair for stores that see no trouble. And they made the point that they see the most business in later hours.

Some, however, did note that if limiting hours of some stores where crime is happening would help save lives, they're completely behind it.

At this point, the proposal is just a thought.

"We're looking into all options," Sheehan told CBS6's Liz Bishop.

But people like Aidala say whatever can be done to stop the violence should be.

"There's way too much violence happening especially in the past week here in Albany. There needs to be accountability on everyone's part."

Another thing the mayor suggested was buying all the streetlights in the city so the city itself would be able to put surveillance cameras on every one. Again, these are things the city is looking into to battle this recent violence.

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