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York residents hope Neighborhood Safety Patrols prevent further tragedies in the city

The York City Police Department is implementing Neighborhood Safety Patrols in various parts of the city to curb ongoing violence.

YORK, Pa. — York resident Evelyn Figueroa is still mourning the loss of her son, Harry Crespo, who was killed in a hit-and-run car crash in 2017. Five years after the incident on the 600 block of Walnut Street in York, she's still searching for answers. 

"Everyday I wake up to his urn being there. It's hard," said Figueroa. "We don't know if it was a he, she, truck or car. We don't know. No answers. I've been there three times to the precinct – nothing.

Like Figueroa, many other York mothers have lost their sons to senseless violence.

In an effort to protect others from this pain, the York City Police Department is implementing "Neighborhood Safety Patrols" in various areas of the city.

"Along the way, I felt like we weren't doing enough for our neighborhoods to actually feel comfortable," said Michael Muldrow, the York City Police Commissioner.

Even though his department is actively taking guns off of the street and making arrests, Muldrow says more needs to be done. 

So far, officers have been evaluating crime trends to determine which areas of the city will be patrolled. Muldrow calls it old school policing – more officers in uniform on the streets.

"Unfortunately, the neighbors here have dealt with some shooting incidents up here on the 6/700 block of Market Street," said Muldrow. "We've had some issues on Franklin [and] issues here on Ridge Avenue with some drugs and shots fired."

Residents and workers in those areas are hopeful the new initiative will curb the ongoing violence, since they call themselves the lucky ones.

"It's been good. We felt safe, and we haven't had moments of concern for our safety, for our volunteers [or] our staff," said Shari Gordon, the executive director for Catholic Harvest Food Pantry.

The pantry is located on the 600 block of East Market Street, just a few blocks down from Six Oh One, a convenient store that was hit with an armed robbery last summer.

"The fact that it happened so close – it's almost unbelievable just how it feels so safe here," said Jessica Warren, Catholic Harvest Food Pantry's program coordinator. "You don't think that kind of thing happens just so close to us."

Meanwhile, Muldrow says the money for the new Neighborhood Safety Patrols comes directly from the police department's $20 million budget. It's all part of an effort that he, Figueroa and several other York residents hope will make the streets of York safer.

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