CORNING - The bulk of recent calls to the Corning City Police Department has been reports of bears sighted in the city. 

Chief Jeff Spaulding said the department has received several calls in the past couple of days of bear activity and patrolmen’s goal is to scare the bears and encourage them to go back to woods outside the city.

“Sightings of bears in the city generally seems to peak every year in late June and early July,” Spaulding said. “It’s the scent of garbage that is probably attracting the bears to the city. It’s a food source for them that they are attracted to.”

Spaulding said the bears have been seen throughout the city but sightings in areas such as the west end of Sunset Drive and sections near Severn Elementary School have been a regular occurrence.

Patrolmen have been at locations near Corning-Painted Post High School in the city in recent weeks searching for evidence of bears' presence.

“We want to make sure the walk to school is safe,” Spaulding said

DEC officials have said residents can reduce the chance of encounters with bears by reducing access to anything the animals might want to eat.

Among the key things: secure trash containers, take down bird feeders and don't keep pet food outside.

The DEC also said that in the case of a bear encounter, making a lot of noise will generally scare them off.