YONKERS N.Y. – As a result of various police programs, including an undercover operation against illegal guns, almost every type of crime in Yonkers decreased in 2012, according to the Yonkers Police Department.
There were four homicides in 2012, down from seven in 2011, a 43 percent decrease. In the same period, rapes dropped from 36 to 28, a 22 percent decrease, and robberies from 463 to 422, a 9 percent decrease. The number of shootings and stabbings also decreased, from 21 to eight and from 80 to 73, respectively. However, felony assaults spiked from 591 to 679, an increase of 15 percent.
The department's multitiered approach to violence is what's keeping crime so low, said Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner.
"Crime has seen a decrease not only in high-risk areas, but throughout Yonkers," Gardner said. "These decreases are a direct result of the hard work and dedication that our officers give, and also how they risk their lives on a daily basis. We ended the year with only four murders, which I think is remarkable for a city of this size."
In addition to the reduction in violent crime, crimes against property dropped from 3,174 to 2,564, a 19 percent decrease.
The department's crime-fighting efforts include monthly meetings, an active patrol force and the anti-gun violence SNUG Program . The department's gunfire detection system, which analyzes gunshots and reports the exact location to police within seconds, has both increased arrests and police safety. The department's Gun Tips Hotline and its undercover gun buying operation have taken 66 illegal guns off the streets.
Yonkers is the 113th largest city in America and is one of the top 10 safest cities, said Mayor Mike Spano.
"While these stats are encouraging, we still have a lot of a work ahead of us," Spano said. "When people chose to move into a neighborhood, they do it for a variety of reasons, but safety is one of them. I recently met with the mayor of Buffalo, and he was astonished how a city of our size had such an incredibly low crime rate. Yonkers has built a reputation where criminals know to stay out."
Increased cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation has led to the arrests of 97 known gang members in Yonkers, Gardner said.
“Even though Yonkers is one of the safest cities in America, there is still crime, and we will do everything we can do make that number even lower,” he said. “We constantly review trends so that we can adjust our efforts and how we can best use our officers. I just want to warn any gang members out there that you may be next.”
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