NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Westchester County town has seen violent crime drop by as much as 40 percent.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported, not everyone agrees that the town’s formula for success is working.
“Mt. Vernon has grown a lot, it’s got a lot better,” Viola Adams said.
Adams and her daughter Ashley have called Mt. Vernon home for decades.
They’ve seen crime and violence come and go.
“It’s cops on every street corner protecting and serving like they’re supposed to,” Ashley said.
Mayor Richard Thomas said that’s by design, and the latest crime stats show the plan is working.
“Mt. Vernon continues to grow safer. Serious crime is down a dramatic 32 percent since 2011,” he said.
Perhaps more impressive are the stats from 2016 to 2017 when Mt. Vernon saw a 42 percent drop in rapes, a 36 percent drop in murders and a 19 percent drop in robberies.
Mayor Thomas said with Mt. Vernon’s porous border with New York City, the city’s success depends on a partnership with the NYPD and MTA.
“Asking questions, constantly looking for opportunities to deliver a stronger safety net, and working with them to bridge gaps that we wouldn’t be able to bridge without them,” he said.
A mobile precinct maintains order at concerts and events, and will be used in local neighborhoods to build relationships with the community.
Inside of patrol cars, new computers allow officer to file police reports.
“I can type the police report here, send it to the supervisor, and they can make changes and I stay on the street and visible, which is by itself a great crime deterrent,” Sergeant Gregory Addison said.
While statistics show crime is down, not everyone who lives in Mt. Vernon says they can feel the difference.
“I was born and raised here and it’s not like it used to be,” Joe Izzard said.
Many people said that feeling safe depends on where you live in town.
“If they feel that they’re not safe in their neighborhoods they should let us know,” Mt. Vernon Police Commissioner, Shawn Harris said.
The town plans to hire 15 new officers this year and outfit each of their patrol cars with the surveillance mode feature.