Are neighbors safe at Buffalo’s parks?

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — City leaders are weighing in on how to make the city safer and what neighbors can do to prevent violent incidents from happening in public spaces.

This all comes after a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in Shoshone Park on Sunday night.

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office said 34-year-old Lamont Love allegedly, while on a bicycle, approached a woman who was walking and then jumped off the bike before attacking her. Love allegedly punched the woman and slammed her to the ground, causing cuts, pain and swelling before subjecting the victim to sexual contact without her consent, according to police.

Buffalo man accused of sexually assaulting woman in Shoshone Park

It is alleged the woman was able to fight off Love and flee the area, eventually calling police from a safe space, according to police.

“I want people to be able to walk through the City of Buffalo and Erie County without having to worry about someone attacking them,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said in a press conference Tuesday.

Buffalo leaders are considering ways to keep people safe in public, especially in the parks.
Shoshone Park is going through an upgrade right now. Councilman Rasheed N.C. Wyatt says he wants cameras installed long-term. Right now, Buffalo Police are making extra patrols to keep people safe.

“We are talking about putting cameras in our parks, but that’s after the fact. We need to do something now. I talked to Chief Fahey and I know he said they have additional patrols going into the area,” Councilman Wyatt explained.

Councilman Wyatt is hosting a community meeting in march to discuss the park’s master plan and how neighbors want it to improve. The meeting will be held at 5:30pm on March 11 at Dash’s Market on Hertel Avenue.

This isn’t the only incident where a woman was attacked recently. Just last week, a man pleaded guilty to a rape charge after he allegedly attacked a woman near Shoshone last December. Another woman says she was almost kidnapped near her home in Cheektowaga this past weekend. That’s shining the light on the importance of women’s self defense classes.

“Making a scene, being aware of your surroundings and not panicking,” Dusty Mueckl, women’s and self defense instructor at WNY MMA & Fitness, said. “We like to be prepared because we know this is happening constantly. Although this is awesome that a lot of light is being put on it right now, unfortunately, it is still happening and expediting.”

The most important tip to remember is to make a scene to draw attention, try to get away if you can safely, and learn these basic tips in case you need to fight.

“The more confident you are in your abilities to protect yourself the less likely you are to be attacked,” Mueckl said.

WNY MMA & Fitness hosts self defense classes for women every Sunday morning, free for anyone who wants to learn a few more ways to stay safe.

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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.

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