UB University Heights community concerned after weekend shooting

Shooting at Jim’s Steakout leaves man in critical condition, residents fearful


Amy Lipsky and Marisa Goldberger thought their apartment above the commercial buildings on Main Street would be safe a location to live in the University Heights.

Lipsky said she thought businesses on the street like Jim’s Steakout, which can stay busy and lively with customers until 5 a.m., would be helpful in detracting violent crime.

“I realize now that I was wrong and I need to stay even more alert now,” Lipsky, a senior communication major, said.

University Heights residents are on alert this week following a shooting on Main Street outside the entrance of Jim’s Steakout that left a 31-year-old male in critical condition this weekend. Buffalo Police, who responded to the shooting around 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning, believe the man was targeted in the shooting.

Jim’s Steakout management declined to comment pending the investigation.

Both Lipsky and Goldberger, a senior health and human services major, said they are concerned for their safety, as they could have been walking into their apartment during the time of the shooting.

Mickey Vertino, University Heights Collaborative president, is spearheading efforts to end the constant string of crime in the area. The University Heights Collaborative is a grassroots group that is focused on reducing crime in the area.

“We need residents in this community to work together to end these crimes,” Vertino said. “Students need to communicate with us their problems and concerns so we can work on them with patrols and detectives.”

There were approximately 30 incidents in the Heights reported to Buffalo Police during the month of January alone, according to Crime Reports, a website that works with local police departments and tracks criminal activity reported to authorities.

Since the weekend before classes started for the spring semester, approximately 12 incidents, mainly thefts, break-ins, robberies and assaults, have been reported.

In spite of Saturday morning’s shooting, crimes are down around 30 percent in the last year and a half for the University Heights area, according to Vertino.

“It is still hard to feel safe when things like this happen so close to home,” Lipsky said.

The University Heights Collaborative are now setting their sights on the area near Lisbon Avenue, located a block from Jim’s.

“We are aware of somewhat of a ‘hotspot’ in the area of Lisbon Avenue and Cordova Avenue,” Vertino said.

About four months ago, the collaborative set up at the Lisbon Cordova block club to get residents more involved and communicating with each other.

“I believe the block club can make a big difference in that area,” Vertino said.

Lisbon Ave is home to several abandoned homes as well as an abandoned school on the southeast corner of Lisbon Avenue and Cordova Avenue.

Vertino said he would also like to keep an open line of communication of students in the area.

“I hope that our efforts will have more people looking out for each other,” Vertino said. “We want safety.”

Evan Scheinder is the assistant news editor and can be reached at evan.scheinder@ubspectrum.com.