IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Irvington, one of Westchester County's historical and inviting communities, has been named one of New York State's safest communities by movato.com, a real estate blog.
Movoto.com ranked towns with a population of 5,000 or more in three categories: violent crime, property crime and chance that a resident will be the victim of a crime.
"I take all of these types of surveys with a grain of salt, but it is certainly better when they are positive," Irvington Mayor Brian C. Smith said. "When I read the story on The Daily Voice that Irvington was the fourth safest community in New York, I was not surprised but I was very proud.
Briarcliff Manor was the highest ranking Westchester community at No. 2 in the state, followed by Lewisboro and Irvington at numbers 3 and 4, respectively. The most recent statistics released by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (2011 stats) saw Irvington's total of felony crimes recorded dropping to a five-year low of 26.
Irvington Police Chief Michael P. Cerone has watched the tiny Rivertowns village grow from 2,500 to 6,500 residents over his 35 years with the department and faced the challenges of growth while leading a successful police force.
The Irvington Police Department has 22 full-time officers and three civilian employees. The department operates on a $2.4 million budget and is responsible for 24 hour a day police protection and services and also dispatches fire and emergency medical service equipment and personnel.
"We are very proud to be considered as one of the safest communities in the state and the credit goes to the cooperation of our officers and the community," Cerone said. "I've watched the village grow and develop over 35 years. We try to be responsive to the residents and keep the lines of communication open at all times. It's a great honor."
Smith said he joked with Chief Cerone that he needs to "work harder to get us into the top three."
"But I quickly told (Cerone) how pleased I am of the job that he and his police officers do for us every day," Smith said. "I did not need a survey to inform me that Irvington is one of the safest places in New York, you can feel that when you walk around the Village. Additionally, I receive an unbelievable amount of praise for our Police Department and the individual officers, so I think our fourth place ranking may actually be too low."
Cerone said his police officers work with school officials, senior citizens and other local agencies to prevent crime and keep the village running smoothly.
"We try to put put best food forward in dealing with downtown traffic flow, parking and other daily situations that can lead to problems," Cerone said. "We set a high bar on prevention and safety. We get a lot of cooperation from the residents."
The Mayor Smith said, "the Board of Trustees and the Police Department are always looking to make Irvington even safer. One recent area of focus has been improving pedestrian and traffic safety. We are working closely with the chief to make meaningful improvements in these areas."