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Police unit returns to York's Salem Square neighborhood

Written by Mark Walters/York Daily Record | Oct 26, 2016 8:15 AM
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A satellite location for the York City Police Department is returning to the city's Salem Square neighborhood after a one-year absence. City officials shared the news Tuesday afternoon on the steps of Gus' Place, a former bar at 596 W. Princess St. (Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

One York man is hopeful Tuesday's news makes more of a difference than similar events have in the past

(York) -- John Herman has seen events like the one he attended Tuesday on West Princess Street in York. Herman, who has a jaded opinion of the city's handling of crime and its quality of life, hopes this one makes a difference.

The York City Police Department will open a satellite location less than a mile from its headquarters, at Gus' Place, a former bar at 596 W. Princess St, after a one-year absence from the west side.

"I've heard it before," Herman said. "It's the same old song, same old music. But I'll always give them the benefit of the doubt."

Herman, a 65-year-old lifelong York resident, loathes the discarded mattresses in the alley behind his West King Street home. Addressing those and vacant houses can help deter crime, he insists. He used to brag to people about York.

"Now, I don't tell anybody I live in the city, and that's a shame," he said.

Herman hopes the outpost will allow police to patrol at night and in the early morning, when crime is most prevalent. And handling quality of life issues can go a long way, he said.

"The codes help with the neighborhood," said Herman, who used to own a small diner a block from Gus' Place. Keeping up with properties will help people care more about their neighborhood, he said.

Three officers and a sergeant will man the outpost, said city police chief Wes Kahley, who expressed optimism that the neighborhood unit will make a difference in a city that has seen a spike in shootings.

There was a 44 percent drop in calls to police during the unit's time in the city's west side from 2011 to 2015, Kahley said. There was a 47 percent drop in gun assaults and a 45 percent drop in robberies. Those numbers have come back up around the city, Kahley said.

Another police outpost will open in the city's south side, Kahley said Tuesday. "As we get some more manpower back, we'll be adding some other units again."

Officers working at the outposts will handle quality of life issues all the way up to shootings and homicides, Kahley said.

York Mayor Kim Bracey said officers will be out in the neighborhoods. "We're glad we have this space for the guys to be able to put their hats down," she said. "But their job will be in the community."

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News, York

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