You may see more police officers on the streets in York City: Here's why
York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow has decided on an old-school approach to stop the violence that has taken place in the city over the past several weeks.
His officers on Thursday began neighborhood safety patrols with the idea of increasing police presence in area neighborhoods.
These foot patrols by officers will be done at various times and in various locations throughout the city.
"I believe I am very old-school when it comes to policing," Muldrow said. "It's not exactly a novel concept. It's just kind of a step back to how we used to do things: high visibility and high presence in the hopes of deterring some of the violence and the crime that's occurring. It's a premise that's very old-school."
Muldrow said it's a way to stay in touch with the people who live in the neighborhoods they patrol.
"I try to stay in touch with our community and the people that live here," he said. "That is something that I know our community wants to see."
The safety patrols are another approach as police try to stem the recent wave of gun violence that has hit the city.
"We have the prevention pieces now with the outreach and the different initiatives we are doing to try and steer kids away from making those violent choices through some of the partnerships we have with the school district," Muldrow said.
Proactive units have been on the street as well, he said, making gun arrests every day in the community.
There is also Operation Scarecrow, which in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives targets those who are supplying guns in the community.
"The last piece is trying to make sure that people that actually live here feel more comfortable about their neighborhood," Muldrow said. "We know we are making things happen. We're doing the work, but we want to make sure that in between time that people here feel comfortable coming home and comfortable sitting on their porch."
Studies have shown that a visible presence of uniformed police officers and marked patrol cars in a high-crime neighborhood are exceptionally effective in deterring crime, he said.
"The effectiveness is undeniable," Muldrow said. "Where there is a marked cruiser and where there is a uniformed officer, bad things are less likely to occur."
Officers will be assigned and strategically deployed to fixed locations in neighborhoods around the city to increase safety, engage residents, discourage violence and provide an increased sense of security for residents, business owners and visitors.
The initial deployment of officers is based on crime data, trends and investigative information.
"We started this out by going back and scanning through our crime data and statistics and going over where the majority of the shootings were occurring, the times of day the incidents were happening and where they were most prominent," Muldrow said.
One of the targeted areas was at West Market and South Hartley streets, where a shooting recently occurred. Officers are also out in the Parkway neighborhood and the Willis Lane area, East Market and State streets, and East Market and Franklin streets.
"We are following the breadcrumbs of where incidents are telling us where we need to be," Muldrow said.
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It took only two days to set up the neighborhood patrol concept and a portal where citizens can request patrols in their area.
Muldrow praised his staff for setting up the patrol in such a short period of time.
"I'm a little outside the box. They know I can tend to be a little hair-brained at times," he said.
Getting things like the safety patrols done comes from a place of love for Muldrow.
"I feel this place," he said. "York burns in me from the bottom. I never left intentionally, because I love my town. Anything I can do to try and protect this town, protect this community, and feel better about it is what I love to do."
Muldrow is hoping the neighborhood patrols will be a long-term part of the York landscape.
"The goal is to be able to do this long term," he said. "Obviously, like getting it up and running right now and having (it) as overtime details and spending money to do it isn't a long-term solution. But we only need to hold the line until we get our new officers, that wave of officers people have seen we've hired, we need to get them out of the academy. Once they are out of the academy and they are out on the street, we are going to be able to allocate resources internally to be able to do this in a more sound and long-term way."
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Although the initial deployment of officers will be based on statistics and data, community members can request a patrol by going to www.yorkcitypolice.com. There, hover over Services, and select Neighborhood Safety Patrols.
— Reach Anthony Maenza at firstname.lastname@example.org or @atmaenza on Twitter.