YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — York Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow doesn’t claim to be inventing anything new when he lists the tactics his department is using to combat violence in the city, from the high tech (like using data to try to respond quickly before problems in a neighborhood result in bloodshed) to the low tech (officers spending more time walking their beats and talking to neighbors).
Is there a city elsewhere in the state or country that he considers a model of how to reverse violent trends?
“That’s a good question,” he said. “And I’m proud to answer it. And I hope a lot of our retirees and my dad [retired York Police Officer Thomas “Mo” Muldrow] are watching right now when I give the answer. Because … for me, the model in my head, the predominant thing I look at, is York. And what I mean by that is, I just look to the past … on the sound traditional community policing principles that used to exist … and how they used to do things when I was a kid — what I used to see, and how I used to watch my own dad police. And I believe that those fundamental community policing philosophies that worked then… are the same principles we’re looking at really marrying ourselves to and bringing back here in the police department.”
Muldrow spoke with abc27 News Tuesday, the same day York Coroner Pam Gay confirmed 34-year-old Keith Wallace died Sunday night of two gunshot wounds.
Muldrow described the emotions that can come each time his phone rings. Sometimes it’s good news: the arrest Saturday of a 15-year-old suspect in a previous homicide, for example.
“And then the next phone call you get is for the young man that we lost [Wallace],” Muldrow said.
He said many of his emotions are the same experienced by any other resident.
“And you know, you’re tired,” he said. “You’re tired of having to have the vigils. You’re tired of people having to get t-shirts [with names of] their loved ones.”
He said some underlying trends show recent efforts paying off, even though one of the most important figures of all — the number of homicides so far this year — is on pace to pass 2020’s rate.
The six homicides in the city so far in 2021 — in a little more than five months — would project to between 13 and 14 for the full year, if trends don’t change, according to an abc27 News calculation. In 2020, York had 12 homicides; in 2019, it had 17. The city has about 44,000 residents.
By contrast, according to the same abc27 News analysis, the U.S. had about 2.6 homicides for every 44,000 residents in recent years, according to CDC data, and Pennsylvania had about 2.7.
Partial-year aggregate data isn’t available, but many cities (notably Chicago, for example) have reported higher numbers of homicides so far in 2021 than during the same period in 2020, and crime analysts have generally said they believe the country is indeed experiencing an uptick in homicides.