On Thursday, City of Newburgh Police Chief, Doug Solomon, held a press conference highlighting a decrease in violent crimes in the City. The room was filled with politicians and community leaders eager to celebrate the safest year in the City of Newburgh in recent history.
“Congratulations to the City of Newburgh Police Department on this milestone. I am proud of our city and our partnerships at the County, State, and Federal levels. This decrease in crime is significant to our revitalization process. Public safety is our number one priority,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey.
The department has seen an 80 percent decrease in crime over the past three years. With the number of shooting victims moving from 55 in 2015 to 8 in 2018. Although the numbers show significant improvements Solomon is looking to continue to push forward.
“The City of Newburgh is 100 percent committed to continue to drive down violent crime while continuing our efforts to gain and maintain the public trust,” said Solomon.
Solomon attributes the decrease to a growing connection between the police department and the community, as well as the GIVE (Gun Involved Violence Elimination) Program. Resources such as increased video surveillance in the community and a shot spotter program that can pinpoint the location of a gunshot within seconds and notify law enforcement where to go are tools the city has attained over the years to drive crime down.
The department is also working with community leaders and members hosting community barbeques and events. They have put a focus on foot patrols, with 3 officers on the community progressive response team, to interact with residents and group members in high crime areas.
One component to bring down the crime rate has been working with local and state partners, such as the Sheriff’s Department and the New York State Troopers.
“This is another sign that the City of Newburgh is experiencing a renaissance on a variety of fronts,” said Deputy County Executive Harry Porr. The drop in crime rate is a tribute to the work performed by the Newburgh Police Department, its law enforcement partners and the leadership of the city. The County is proactive about public safety and we look forward to working with Newburgh to ensure that its residents are safe and enjoy a good quality of life.”
The statistics presented by Solomon show how significant the work of the department has been through the year. Gun related violent crime went from 123 crimes in 2014 to 42 in 2018. The department saw an 80 percent decrease in violent crimes from 2014 to 2018.
The force has a focus on maintaining a department that is reflective of the community it serves. They are looking to run recruitment programs to give City of Newburgh residents the tools to pass the police exam and the academy. They also set preference for City of Newburgh residents and officers that speak Spanish.
The department currently has 82 officers sworn in with 19 Hispanic male officers and 4 Hispanic female officers, a majority of which speak Spanish. The department also has six black male officer and four black female officers. There are 77 male officers and 20 female officers. As the department looks to fill in positions to bring the department to the 85 officers the department is budgeted for they will continue to look to increase the diversity in the department. It is important to note the number of Hispanic officers is 15 percent above the national average of Hispanic officers in departments.
“When we opened our office in Newburgh six years ago, folks said we were nuts, but we knew how amazing this city is and we were committed to its success,” said Maloney. “This is a great milestone that shows how far Newburgh has come, but we’re not done yet. Huge credit is due to the dedicated community activists, law enforcement officials, business leaders, and all of our neighbors and friends in the city who made this possible.”