Keeping the peace: Mount Vernon mayor unveils plan to prevent violent crime this summer

Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard announced the three-prong plan outside City Hall. It includes prevention, intervention and enforcement measures.

Bob Doda

May 8, 2023, 7:20 PM

Updated 378 days ago

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Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said Monday the city is bringing back citizen peacekeepers and launching a block watch program that will be the eyes and ears on the ground during the summer months.
It’s part of a three-pronged approach to deter crime: Prevention, intervention and enforcement measures.
"Block watch participants are trained on how to identify and report suspicious activity,” she said on the steps of City Hall. “They receive information about crime trends and prevention strategies from the police department."
The announcement comes just three days after a 30-year-old man was shot on West Third Street. Since January, three young men and teens have lost their lives to violence – the youngest, 14-year-old Zyaire Fernandez, was gunned down in March.
Community members who have been calling for a gun buyback program now have one on the book for June 3, at the Greater Centennial Church.
Technology is also part of the city’s three-pronged plan – it will be giving out Ring cameras to residents and business owners in high-crime areas. Mayor Patterson-Howard called it a “deterrent.”
“We have been able to use surveillance to assist us in solving different crimes," she said.
Police will have the help of state and federal partners to prosecute crimes at higher levels and patrols will be stepped up in what’s being called “intelligence-based policing.”
"These areas will also be patrolled with a zero tolerance for crimes, vehicle traffic infractions and quality of life violations such as gambling and public drinking," said the mayor.


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