Special Projects & Crime-Reduction Initiatives
It is widely accepted that there is no one cause for crime, therefore no one solution for reducing it. As such, the City of Newburgh Police Department (CNPD) actively participates in several special programs, grant projects, and initiatives to tackle the many causal factors contributing to crime in the city. The Police Department also partners with several county, state, and federal agencies to target known offenders while partnering with many local and county social service agencies and community groups to improve neighborhoods and community relations. While there are many projects going on at any one time, the following is a list of the current major programs.
- COPS Grant
- Crime Prevention through Environment Design (CPTED)
- Foot Patrol
- Group Violence Intervention
- Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) Grant
- Youth Police Initiative
In 2014, the City of Newburgh Police Department received the federal Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS) Hiring grant. This funding supported the hiring of 4 additional police officers for the City. This was a greatly welcomed grant for the City since the economic recession negatively affected the staffing of the police department over the last several years. Strides have been made in the last year to increase the department's sworn personnel numbers and the COPS Hiring grant made those efforts progress further. These extra officers will be able to participate in Youth Police Initiative (YPI), foot patrols and so many other community efforts that will improve the overall atmosphere of the City of Newburgh.
Under the first year of the GIVE program, the City of Newburgh Police Department had the opportunity to send multiple officers to training for Crime Prevention Through Environment Design (CPTED). Officers learned crime prevention techniques through target hardening and spatial design to promote better visibility. Officers also learned how to use the "CPTED Audit and Site Assessment Checklist" for evaluations. Since then, CNPD has offered CPTED evaluations to individual property and business owners to assist in improving properties and increasing target hardening. It is hoped this program can be expanded in the future if additional grant funding becomes available. For a CPTED evaluation, please contact Lieutenant Frank Labrada at 845-569-7577.
Recently, the City of Newburgh Police has been striving to reconnect with our community. A recent resident survey conducted by Community Solutions in conjunction with CORe initiatives revealed residents wanted increased patrols as a crime reduction tool. Over the years, there have been multiple requests for foot patrols within the city from both city leaders and the residents themselves. While officers never shied away from the practice, it is difficult to do with limited officers and resources. CNPD suffers from "Call to Call" syndrome where on-duty patrol officers are so busy responding to emergency calls for service that there is little time to interact positively with the community. Sadly in years past, it was so rare to see officers walking that when they did, neighborhood children asked if their police car had broken down. Given the community's desire for more positive police contact, CNPD has found a way to implement foot patrols during regular patrol shifts when call volume is low. Additionally, the Department is utilizing grant funding to schedule foot patrols in 4-hour blocks to give officers more time to interact with the community and walk through the neighborhoods. Foot patrol officers are free from answering calls for service and are encouraged to engage with the community.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services offered the City of Newburgh Police Department and its GIVE partners the opportunity to implement a Group Violence Intervention strategy. Through the technical support of the National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC), the City has begun the process of isolating information pertaining to subjects within the city who show an increased level of violent activity. NNSC performed an extensive amount of analysis on groups within Newburgh. NNSC has confirmed that a small number of people are committing a large portion of Violent Crime. Many of these subjects are active members of groups. Consequently, Newburgh is ripe for a Group Violence Intervention Model.
A Group Violence Intervention model is fairly complex both in the analysis of groups and areas, as well as in the implementation of the program. Fortunately, Newburgh has both the support of DCJS and NNSC on this endeavor. There have been several papers written on the subject, but simply a Group Violence Intervention is a form of Focused Deterrence aimed at utilizing peer pressure to our advantage. The model targets key members within the most violent groups and puts them on notice: Shape up or we're coming after you with all the law enforcement and prosecutorial resources we have to stop you AND every member of your group. If you want to change, we support you and we'll help you with services to redirect your life. And tell all your friends because help is available to them too. And if anyone in your group commits an act of violence, we're coming after everyone in the group including you.
In 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo revamped the previous IMPACT grant program to focus solely on gun violence. Specifically focused on Bullet to Body Shootings and Homicides, GIVE utilizes evidence-based practices for gun violence reduction. The city of Newburgh Police and its Orange County partners secured funding through the competitive application process. CNPD works nearly daily with members of the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Orange County Probation Office, and the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Current GIVE efforts include the targeting of gun activity "hotspots" through street-level law enforcement interdiction. Additionally, CNPD has purchased street cameras for high violence areas as a method of target hardening in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Furthermore, GIVE funding supports the Youth Police Initiative, crime analysis, and field intelligence in Newburgh.
In 2013, the Newburgh Police, with the assistance of the Orange County Department of Social Services (DSS), implemented the Youth Police Initiative (YPI). This program works to bring juveniles and police officers together to actively engage each other in a program that facilitates understanding. The focus is on interpersonal treatment between the youth and the officers. The purpose is to get both sides understanding they are all human, they have all had their hardships in life and they all can have common ground in which to build trust and mutual respect. The success of this program in Newburgh is dependent on reaching younger children before they participate in any serious criminal activity. Thus far, there have been referrals from County Probation of children who have entered the system along with referrals from Social Services. Additionally, youth from some of the poorest and most crime-ridden areas have been selected for the program. The hope is by building relationships between them and officers; will also build a sense of community that will thwart later criminal behavior. Once the relationship has been established between officers and the youth, the Department and its officers must continue to foster that relationship in order for the long-term positive efforts to take hold. Data analysis shows firearm-related arrests in the City peak between ages 18 and 20. YPI seeks to establish positive relationships and offer alternatives to kids so they will not pick up a gun in the future.