The Fight Against Crime
Police foot patrols in high crime neighborhoods have been increased, expanded and enhanced based upon real time crime data provided by the crime analysis unit and intelligence gathered by Neighborhood Recovery Unit, Community Policing and the Field Intelligence Officer.
Coordinated sweeps to target low level crimes have been accomplished in cooperation with city judges. Quality of life crimes have become a daily focus and have proven an effective part of Poughkeepsie’s overall crime prevention strategy.
“Safe Neighborhoods Across Poughkeepsie” is a program to remove blight from neighborhoods based upon work by the Nuisance Committee and a coordinated effort among all the inspection authorities within city government such as the Zoning Administrator, Building Inspectors, Plumbing Inspectors, Section 8 Inspector and Sanitation Inspector. Strict enforcement of the zoning and building codes along with new legislation to fine repeat offenders is cleaning up our community street by street. Vacant property legislation is a new effective tool to force clean up of neighborhoods and compel landowners to beautify their investment properties.
Off duty police negotiations have been successful with the PBA and Mayor Tkazyik’s administration to utilize off duty cops on private property not at the taxpayers expense. This initiative effectively puts additional officers on the street at any given time at the Housing Authority properties, Eastman Tower, Corlies Manor RIP Van Winkle Building and Tubman Terrace apartment complex. All are known high crime areas and the increased police coverage has helped protect the tenants of these residential areas.
A fresh approach of cooperating with the separate and distinct government of the School district to stagger dismissal times of the Middle School and High School has increased safety for the students the surrounding neighborhoods and the police officers. Along with the improved Safe Passage Program to provide a safe route for student pedestrians walking home, never before has there been a focus on student safety from City Hall.
The City has updated, modernized and increased police camera coverage across all known problem areas in the City including a new camera presence on the Walkway Over the Hudson. In addition to old cameras being replaced, new cameras being installed and new technology being utilized, equipment for viewing the camera coverage areas has been improved as well. Monitors have been installed in additional areas at Police Headquarters so additional personnel can monitor the areas covered by the new camera system.
A suspicion activity tip line has been established and funds have been provided for the “Cash for Tips Program.” Efforts to crack down on gang violence and drug related activity continue. Despite steep reductions in federal and state aid, police personnel remains at full force.
Four years ago Main Street was hemorrhaging businesses and jobs, and Main Street was a ghost town after 5 pm. The Southern Waterfront Development and the Luckey Platt Development were stuck in a quagmire of red tape; progress had been halted by indecision, weak management policies and a City Hall that discouraged the business community.
Today the Lucky Platt Building is fully occupied. It is nearly impossible to find a place to park along downtown’s “Restaurant Row” at night on the weekends. The Delaval Site has been cleaned up, and the Southern Waterfront Development has now moved onto Phase II of development. Two grocery stores will soon open in downtown Poughkeepsie.
Vassar Brothers Medical Center and the Mid Hudson Medical Center have invested nearly $100 million in the City, creating new and solely needed local jobs.
The Walkway Over the Hudson has been completed and long vacant and abandoned properties have been sold, developed, and put back on the tax rolls.
Managing a City Through Difficult Economic Times
Expenses have been reduced by more than $1 million each year for the last three years without cuts in Poughkeepsie’s Police Department. The tax levy has been raised less than 1% each year for the last three years. The workforce has been streamlined without layoffs of city workers. Public employee unions have joined the effort to keep costs down. Other than the seed investment money for the ARRA Hoffman Street Bridge project, the City has not borrowed a single dollar during the past three years.
The City now shares services with the Town of Poughkeepsie. Our two municipalities enjoy one of the lowest water and sewer rates in the state.