York City Mayor Kim Bracey is up for re-election this year and faces a primary challenge from Councilwoman Carol Hill-Evans. Both women are Democrats; there are no Republicans seeking nomination. The York Dispatch asked the candidates a series of five questions. Below are the answers to the first question.
Crime is both a real and perceived problem in York City, fueled largely by gangs and the drug trade. But statistics also reveal that crime is actually down over the past decade - 25 percent when it comes to the most serious (Part 1) crimes. As mayor, how would you address the city's crime and crime-perception problems? Would you change anything about the way the police department operates? If so, how?
Kim Bracey (D): "When I took office as mayor my goal was and remains to strengthen the relationship between our police and residents. In three short years, we have changed how the Police Department operates. I am a firm believer in community policing. Our police chief now leads our department and its mission to bring the com´munity and the police officers closer together to identify and address crime and quality of life issues. Our city now has six neighborhood enforcement units assigned throughout our city, with more to come. Our officers are proactively policing, not merely responding to emergencies and arresting criminals. They are engaged in the neighbor´hoods developing trust and communication. It is working and the crime reduction data reinforces our efforts. Officers attend neighborhood meetings, walk the neighbor´hoods, and explore ways to better work with residents to prevent and solve crime. I believe this is true community policing working for York."
Carol Hill-Evans (D): "We will utilize community policing and community plus policing, which encourages problem-solving from both sides, to address crime. We must recognize that police alone can't stop crime - only communities can. Communities can only stop crime if they work with police. My efforts will include reconnecting law enforcement and citizens who want to help but are afraid or convinced that no one in City Hall will listen to them. In community plus policing, the community develops a relationship with the officer(s) assigned to their area. When the community is familiar with the officer they're more likely to help get the criminals off the streets. Police must develop relationships by showing respect through the use of good, fair and professional practices with law abiding citizens in every neighborhood. As mayor, I will take all necessary steps to rid our city of crime and violence.