Ball: We’re Hoping Yorktown Takes Lead in Northern Westchester on this Issue
Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) called a public meeting of the Assembly Minority Sex Offender Watch Task Force on Thursday to discuss new Child Safety Zone legislation for Yorktown, New York. Ball, who worked with legislators in Putnam County to enact Child Safety Zones has been working with Councilman Terrence Murphy to bring the same protections to Yorktown.
“”There are children being protected in Putnam County, and children just to the south in Yorktown don’t have those same protections,” Ball said.
“Rockland and Putnam Counties have Child Safety Zones in place, but Westchester doesn’t,” Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy said. “Westchester seems to have stalled the process. Yorktown would like to take a step in the right direction, to implement Child Safety Zones and to start the ball rolling.”
Murphy pointed out that, as a County Legislator, George Oros attempted to bring Child Safety Zones to Westchester County, but the law lacked bi-partisan support.
“It became a political show,” Murphy said.
Because the Westchester County Board of Legislators failed to enact the Child Safety Zones due to partisan politics, Ball hoped Yorktown would lead Northern Westchester on the issue, inspiring the other towns to follow.
“I have been working with Terrence Murphy for a year on bringing the Child Safety Zone law to Yorktown,” Ball said. “I worked on the county level in Putnam to bring the law there, but unfortunately its been caught up by politics here in Westchester. So we are hoping that Yorktown will take the lead, and that other towns in Northern Westchester will follow suit by enacting Child Safety Zones as well.”
Yorktown Councilman Nick Bianco, who has helped Murphy with the local legislation, says that the town is ready to move forward with Child Safety Zone legislation.
“People may say, ‘Why do you need a Child Safety Zone in Yorktown?’ We don’t have a predator problem on our streets or in our town? But, imagine if we do in the future and we don’t have this law in place. I see this as a preventative rather than a progressive law, and it is time to start moving ahead,” Bianco said.
“If the local municipalities and counties wait for New York State to take action, they could be waiting until Hell freezes over,” Ball concluded. “During the time that the Civil Confinement bill was held up at the state level by Sheldon Silver, there were over 50,000 forcible rapes. It is incumbent upon counties and municipalities to take preventative measures.”
The forum also addressed recent reports of a middle-aged man from Putnam County videotaping middle school and high school girls in Putnam and Westchester Counties. Information on this individual was quickly communicated in the county by the Carmel Police Department and the Mahopac Central School District, while Assemblyman Ball’s office also communicated the incident to the neighboring counties.
“The system worked pretty well. The Carmel Police Department received that information and transmitted it to our district and the Carmel School District,” said Donald Beverly, Assistant Superintendent of the Mahopac Central School District.
Assistant Superintendent Tom Cole, of the Yorktown Central School District, stated that information sharing is a necessary tool. His district relied upon the School Resource Officer (SRO) program to receive the Carmel Police Report and communicate it. Yorktown Supervisor Susan Siegel added that the SRO program is a vital preventative and communication tool.
The forum was also attended by Assemblymen Peter D. Lopez (R, C, I – Schoharie) and Robert J. Castelli (R, C, I – Goldens Bridge), Yorktown Town Justice Salvatore Lagonia, Yorktown Councilman Vishnu Patel, Lt. Kevin Soravilla of the Yorktown Police Department, Capt. McNamara of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Susan Aron of the New York State Crime Victims Board, and Rebecca deSimone of Victims Assistance Services.