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Residents already plagued by crime have been even more unnerved here in the last week.

At least eight people were wounded and three remain hospitalized after five separate, unrelated shootings that ended Wednesday.

Mayor Tim Julian said the city is trying to make a dent in the violence. Last week, city and Oneida County officials formed a Major Crimes Investigations Unit to combat serious felonies. The task force will combine Utica officers with state troopers and sheriff's deputies.

Philip Nardell, a 75-year-old Utican known as "the James Street Historian," spoke sadly of the changes for the worse he has seen through the years.

"It was down there that the boy was shot," he said, referring to the Sept. 9 shooting of 16-year-old Eugene James. "It's the kids. They have no respect for people, hanging out in the middle of the street making noise, using bad language, very bad. When they get together in groups, anything goes. That's why you don't see a lot of old people out. They just treat people with contempt."

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