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Highlights From Our Reader Chat With Mayor Christenson

Miss our monthly chat with the mayor last week? Here are some highlights.

Last Friday, Mayor Gary Christenson and Malden Police Lieutenant Kevin Molis joined our readers for a monthly Q&A about crime.

You can read a , but here are some highlights below:

Q: Beyond bringing more officers into the fold, what are some of the long-term strategies your administration is considering to combat crime in the city?

Lt. Molis: Strategies include the timely analysis of crime trends and the rapid deployment of resources on a priority basis, the enhanced use of technology, partnerships with other vital city agencies; DPW, Building, Board of Health and Fire Department to identify and address areas of neglect that have been shown to be a contributing factors in neighborhood crime.

Q: What have you found are some of those areas of neglect, Lieutenant?

Lt. Molis: Problem properties, problem locations where there are frequent calls for police service or identified for various code violations by the regulating agencies in the City.

Q: Are there a lot of problems with vacant properties, vis-a-vis crime in the city?

Lt. Molis: Generally no, but those that have been identified are being monitored on a regular basis.

Q: Will there be any additional funding for police officers in the upcoming budget? How many police officers will be funded?

Mayor Christenson: Besides the four officers and one cadet announced in February, I plan to add a police officer for Malden High School who will serve as the School Resource Officer. I also plan to immediately back-fill positions as they become vacant through retirement, etc.

Q: The city wants to install red light enforcement cameras once the state gives the OK. At $60,000-$90,000 per camera, how does the city expect to pay for those?

Mayor Christenson: My understanding of the way this works is that there would be no cost to the City. The vendor would install the equipment at their own expense. I am in full support of the program being implemented in Malden.

Q: Lieutenant, I would like to see costumer relation at the police department improved, any chance of that happening?

Lt. Molis: The concept of customer service is something that is not only required in the business world, but it also should be a priority in public service. We now have additional cadets staffing the front desk and the dispatch area which enhances "customer service" to visitors and phone callers to the police station. Additionally, part of the philosophy of having the "Beat Cop" in Malden Square is for citizen engagement.

Beth Chaplin May 29, 2012 at 12:04 PM
I thought one of Christenson's campaign promises was to incorporate more social media in city government. Are they planning an iPhone app like Boston's Citizens Connect? Is there any way to offer comments via Facebook to the Mayor's office?
Chris Caesar May 29, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Hey Beth, so far I think the mayor has done quite a bit with social media. The city has a YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook account, a few app capabilities and I believe are looking into a similar system like Citizens Connect: http://www.cityofmalden.org/Social-Media/ http://www.cityofmalden.org/Mobile-Apps/
Paul Weston May 29, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Beth, They do monitor their Twitter account, and do respond to postings if needed.
iCitizen May 29, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Chris beat me to it..I was thinking the same thing. While a city app would be great, I think it's an expensive project to take on. Development and support of a good app can be costly as there is more to it then just building an app. Based on the links Chris shared, it looks like the mayor's administration has done a good job thus far with citizen interaction. (Not saying we should never have an App) It might be best to prioritize building a better city website. That alone is also a pricey initiative but it's where I feel the cities efforts and citizens tax dollars would be best spent for now. For example, items like better organized information for citizens, and map enabled data(street cleaning, garbage pickup, etc...) would be super useful.
Beth Chaplin May 29, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Thanks! That's very helpful - I didn't know about the Twitter account. I agree that the Citizens Connect app must take some resources to create and maintain.

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