Important Public Safety Notice for Mount Vernon

An article in The Journal News discussed the disproportionate amount of registered sex offenders in the City of Mount Vernon. As a small community with “big city” concerns, Mount Vernon will continue to advance and advocate for additional levels of funding to support public safety, infrastructure, and health and wellness programming. Below are two statements from Mayor Richard Thomas and Police Commissioner Shawn Harris on the steps the city is taking to ensuring safety for all residents.

Statement from Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Shawn Harris

Under the direction of Mayor Thomas, the Police Department vigilantly monitors registered offenders on a weekly basis. The cost of vigilance is high, which we accept, but the burden is unfair and that must change. Officers must be trained, and this extends all the way to school crossing guards. Year-end figures for 2017 showed 43 percent of the Level 3 Sex Offenders living in Mount Vernon came from outside the city. Though we have implemented much of the 21st Century Policing Policies, we need a real investment by the Council in the mental health and code enforcement components of the plan. This includes more training, personnel, and equipment so we can do even more to safeguard our community.

Statement by Mayor Thomas

I have directed the police to explore the legal limits of monitoring sexual predators. We cover this topic on a weekly basis to ensure no stone is unturned and that all on my team are accountable for making Mount Vernon safer. But how is it that our poor community of color must shoulder this high-cost, high-risk population and affluent communities are virtually immune? Until we get people in government serious about addressing the inequities of how sex offenders are returned to communities, Mount Vernon and similar places will continue to suffer. At the local level, we need to ensure funding is available for the police, buildings, planning, and law departments to protect quality of life. At the state and national level, more funding is desperately needed for mental health services, and legislation is needed to mandate an equitable distribution of sex offenders across communities.

If Mount Vernon were the same land size as Yonkers, it would have 287,000 people. If Mount Vernon were the same size as New York City, it would have 4.8 million people. Data confirms Mount Vernon is a small city with big city issues. This is why Mount Vernon must be included in the “Big City” conversation so an appropriate amount of funding from the City Council, state and federal governments can reach the people.

Sex Offenders from Outside Mount Vernon

Year-end figures for 2017 showed 43 percent of the Level 3 Sex Offenders living in Mount Vernon came from outside the city. (18 of the 42 Level 3 Sex offenders). This shows clearly shows that an unfair burden is being placed on the city and residents of Mount Vernon.

Current Sex Offender numbers.

Comparisons to other cities