Riverdale police monitoring, not targeting youth this summer

By Justin Boron

With schools letting out Friday, Riverdale police have some formal plans to compensate for the amount of young people out on the streets but aren't going to target them specifically, said Assistant Police Chief Samuel Patterson.

A wave of youth violence has swelled concern in parents and community leaders that the situation may worsen in the summer months when students have no place to be during the day.

Patterson said police will realign its resources for the last day of school. It also will have special patrols for the Travon Memorial Park on Church Street.

City Council member Michelle Bruce said there are likely going to be hot spots in the community like the theater or skating rink. But she said it's important to remember that all kids aren't bad.

Bruce also said having alternatives for young people will be important.

"We're doing all we can to keep kids off the streets but we're going to have to have assistance," she said.

Bruce recommended the Riverdale Library and its summer programs as a potential outlet for young people during the summer.

Riverdale police are also looking to halt any increase in any of its major crime categories, Patterson said.

"In a nutshell, we in the police department always are looking . . . for ways to deploy resources proactively to impact the possibility of crime being committed in the first place," he said.

The most recent breakdown of major crimes from January to March shows Riverdale has had one homicide, two rapes, 11 robberies, six aggravated assaults, 58 burglaries, 212 larcenies, and 35 auto thefts.