State Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, released a statement urging the state Assembly to pass tougher laws for repeat criminals.
Most people convicted of misdemeanors each year have at least one prior conviction on their criminal record and a large number have more than 10, Amedore said. "These chronic criminals have demonstrated repeatedly that current penalties will not deter them from breaking the law."
State Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Schenectady, is also calling on the state Assembly to pass "Granny's Law," which increases penalties for those who commit crimes against the elderly. The Senate unanimously passed the law in March.
"Although in this case the perpetrators have been charged with a felony first-degree robbery, under current law it is likely that the actual assault may only be chargeable as a misdemeanor," Farley said. "The proposed new law would ensure that any assault against a vulnerable senior citizen could be prosecuted as a violent felony."
In the mean time, Hamilton and the Rotterdam police department are trying to make the town's senior citizens safer.
Hamilton said he would be talking to seniors at the Rotterdam Senior Center about ways to stay safe, including shopping with a friend, parking in a well-lit area, and only carrying what is needed rather than large purses.
"Fortunately this is a rare event and not something that happens frequently, but this type of thing can happen anywhere and you really need to be alert and be aware of your surroundings," Hamilton said.