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White Plains PBA ‘Concerned’ By Patrol Cuts, Crime Rates

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The White Plains police union says it’s growing “increasingly concerned” the department doesn’t have the staffing to combat a recent crime spike, citing monthly burglary and robbery statistics.

White Plains City Hall declined to comment on the union's concerns and directed requests to a public safety department release that says annual burglary and robbery totals have declined since White Plains laid off 12 officers in April 2010.

Police Benevolent Association President (PBA) Robert Riley said slashing police staffing by 10 percent makes it hard to patrol the outskirts of White Plains on weekends.

“With fewer police officers, you get less coverage of the city. Especially on your busy weekends, we’re going downtown to the restaurant and bar area, but we don’t have coverage out in the neighborhoods where there should be coverage,” said Riley. “In the outskirts of the city, outside of the central business district, these burglaries are occurring.”

PBA issued a statement saying southern neighborhoods such as Battle Hill and Soundview have had three burglaries in the past month, capping off a “spate” of 15 citywide burglaries in the past three months. The union noted that there were seven robberies from November to January. Most robberies occurred on Main Street, Lexington Avenue, the parking lot near Bloomingdales and other “thoroughfares,” according to the PBA.

“We are trying to do everything we can with what we’ve got, but it just seems like it’s not a priority right now for city hall,” Riley said in the press release. “Our officers continue to put themselves in harm’s way and we continue to try to work with city officials to keep our citizens safe.”

The public safety department responded with a statement saying there were nine less robberies in 2010 than 2009 and three less burglaries. Police shifted officers from investigative and support units to maintain the patrol staffing after the cuts, according to the department. Squad cars are sent to neighborhoods using the same allotment system as before.

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