Mayor Gary Christenson unveiled a seven-point proposal to combat crime in the city Monday night, proposing some new spending as well a resident sticker program to raise revenue for more police officers.
The plan willl be considered by city councilors when they reconvene next month, but we wanted to hear what you think - is this a good plan to fight crime in Malden? A good start? Or is it completely off the mark?
Read the seven-point plan and share your views with other Maldonians below:
Mayor Christenson’s Initiatives to Improve Public Safety
(editor's note: This summary was submitted to the press by Mayor Gary Christenson)
1. Hire additional Police Officers – I remain committed to increasing the number of police officers. Currently, we have 74 Patrol Officers and we are in the process of hiring 4 additional officers which will bring us to 78. Tonight, I propose adding 3 more that will result in a total of 81 police officers. The funding will come from citywide positions in the budget that have yet to be filled.
2. Assign more Officers to the Anti-Crime Unit – This Unit was formed in 2010 and has been tasked with working in the Malden Center Train Station area and surrounding neighborhoods primarily during the evening hours. Currently, there are 3 officers assigned to this Unit. I propose the use of overtime funding to assign 2 additional officers to this group resulting in a 5-member Unit.
3. Continue surveillance camera expansion – Surveillance Cameras are an effective technique to detect and deter criminal activity. The cameras provide another means for Police Officers to have a visible presence in certain areas of the City. We presently have 18 cameras around the city.
I want to expand this number by adding 12 more which will give us a total of 30 surveillance cameras. The cost of the High Definition cameras which can pan, tilt, and zoom is estimated at $5,000 per unit. I propose that the total purchase price of $60,000 be funded through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that I will forward to the City Council in September-October.
4. Purchase additional License Plate Readers – License Plate Readers can rapidly identify and process thousands of license plates compared to manual checks that might only be in the hundreds. Presently, we have 5 stationary readers and 3 in our police cruisers.
I want to purchase an additional 2 stationary readers and one more to be installed in our police cruisers. The cost per unit is estimated at $20,000. I propose that the total cost of $60,000 be funded through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that I will forward to the City Council in September-October.
5. Purchase more unmarked cars – Unmarked vehicles allow police officers the considerable advantage of patrolling areas and carrying out surveillance efforts while not being seen. I want to purchase 2 additional vehicles. The cost per vehicle is estimated at $15,000. I propose that the total cost of $30,000 be funded through the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that I will forward to the City Council in September-October.
6. Install a secure, high performance wireless broadband network – This private network owned, operated and managed by the Malden Police Department would significantly enhance both emergency and normal daily public safety operations. Such a network would:
- stabilize and improve the performance of the current Police radio system and extend its useful life;
- expand high performance video surveillance into new areas of the City while retaining the existing deployed cameras;
- provide reliable, HD quality video images that will improve investigation and crime reduction capabilities; and
- become a platform for importing non-City video feeds from schools, retail centers, and other locations into the 911 center. This would not only assist with investigations, but also improve emergency and incident responses.
7. Reopen Residential Permit Parking Program – The benefits that such a program offers would assist in promoting public safety by preventing unwanted vehicles on city streets. Permit parking stickers would be free for those already paying excise taxes.
What this program would allow us to do is collect taxes from those residents not currently paying their fair share. These new monies would then be dedicated to hiring additional Police Officers. I have asked Councilor Kinnon as the City Council’s Public Safety Chairman to begin holding hearings on this initiative.