Another Sound Shore robbery has occurred. This time in Pelham. It took place as a commuter was walking home from the train station at approximately 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28th. It is believed that this recent gunpoint robbery is connected to those that took place earlier in January and February in New Rochelle, Pelham, the Village of Mamaroneck, Town of Mamaroneck and Town of Harrison.
People in the Pelham Heights area of the Village are justifiably upset that these robberies have gone unsolved for so long. Public safety is job one for local governments. People must be able to walk on public streets without any fear. We pay huge taxes here in Pelham. These are some of the complaints of village taxpayers.
Residents in the area of Pelham where the three robberies occurred want more cops on the street. This brings us to the problem of money. Cops cost money and these days’ municipal budgets are tight to say the least. The Village of Pelham Police Department is down a few police officers from where they were three years ago. In a small community like Pelham a few officers make a big difference, although Pelham officials expect the police department to do more with less. Police officers retired in Pelham and have not been replaced due to budgetary constraints, according to Village officials. What is the point of lower taxes if property owners are afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods. Is this the quality of life Westchester residents get for their money. This problem is evident in New Rochelle and other communities throughout Westchester as well.
Is this a sign of the times, less money in the budget means more crime on the street? It has been reported that robbery is up in New Rochelle as well. What to do is the question. How do municipal governments increase public safety without raising taxes on already over taxed property owners?
Do Police Departments have to work smarter? Should they take a proactive approach to public safety or just respond reactively as crime occurs? These are the questions that need to be addressed and soon before crime becomes too prevalent.
What if Westchester County were to form a robbery task force that included officers from different departments in different communities throughout the county to address the increase in robberies taking place? They could be deployed on different days or nights each week so that criminals would not know when the risk of being caught would increase for them. This approach would be proactive and also spread the burden of cost for everyone while increasing public safety for everyone.
Either way the problem of public safety must be addressed. Turning our streets over to would be criminals due to budgetary challenges is not an option. Public safety must be maintained even if it means sacrificing in other areas. Law enforcement must learn to work smarter and play nice with each other or Westchester communities will soon look like somewhere else.
We must send a message to would-be-criminals that we will not allow them to take over our streets and bring in a climate of fear to our communities. We the people must speak up and out and tell those we elect what we expect for our tax dollars and our vote. Public safety is fundamental. If our Public officials can't handle that then they must be replaced by someone who can. Our Police must have the tools they need to keep us safe.
This is America, our two most powerful weapons are our voice and our vote. Maybe it's time to use both.