Old-school solution to old-school problem may be what York needs to slow gun violence

York Dispatch editorial board
  • The York City police recently began neighborhood foot patrols.
  • The aim of the new patrols is to curtail the recent spate of gun violence in the city.
  • The patrols are called an "old-school" solution by York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow.
York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow stands at the corner of Market and Hartley Streets, one of the areas where officers began safety patrols Thursday, April 28, 2022. Photo by Anthony Maenza

Sometimes, an old-school problem needs an old-school solution.

That’s the attitude York Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow brings to an issue that has long plagued the city — gun violence.

Muldrow's officers recently began neighborhood safety patrols with the idea of increasing police presence in area neighborhoods. The foot patrols by officers will be done at various times and in various locations throughout the city.

>>Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

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.

"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."

More:You may see more police officers on the streets in York City: Here's why

More:Through words and actions, York City police commissioner showing true leadership

More:Gun culture is about fear. We must give our children an antidote

Muldrow said that 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.

"The effectiveness is undeniable," he said. "Where there is a marked cruiser and where there is a uniformed officer, bad things are less likely to occur."

Thus far, the officers on the beat seem to be buying into the old-school concept, which is imperative if the new patrols are to be effective. Muldrow praised his staff for setting up the patrols in a relatively short period of time.

Muldrow also claimed the new patrols aren’t just a quick fix. He says they are here for the long term.

All in all, it sounds like a great idea. We applaud it and can only wonder why it wasn’t happening before.

Anything that can curtail the recent spate of gun violence in the city is very much welcome.

Building relationships between police and residents: It also has one other significant benefit — it should help bring city residents and city police officers in closer face-to-face contact.

It’s well known that the many urban residents, specifically people of color, are suspicious about their dealings with police officers. There's often open animosity.

That’s not surprising. There’s a long and sad history of police brutality in this nation against Black people.

More personal contact between the police officers and the Black community may help alleviate some of that suspicion and animosity.

Building relationships between the police and the residents is vital in helping to solve violent crimes. The residents must be willing to tell police what they know, or the criminals will likely never be brought to justice.

A personal stake in the fight: Muldrow, as a Black man who grew up in York, has a very personal stake in this fight.

He seems determined to make York a better place to live and work.

"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."