Universal York

Part of the USA Today Network

More Policemen Needed in York

One hundred and fifty years ago this week the following letter appeared in the York Gazette under the heading “Borough Police and Watchmen.”

[To the] “Editors York Gazette:
There are, I believe, but three policemen, (including the high constable and two watchmen), for the whole of the night and day service of the borough of York. It must be plain that no efficient watch can be kept up by this number; and the object of this note is to invite the citizens and municipal authorities to consider the propriety and expedience of increasing the number, especially during the winter months, so as to ensure to our borough a greater degree of order and
[SAFETY also served as the signature to the letter].
The editor of the paper added the following comment:
“We have long thought that the number of watchmen and police officers ought to be at least doubled, so as to bring all parts of the town under more constant supervision. We believe the borough authorities have power to make the increase, and we have no doubt they would be sustained by the citizens in exercising it.”
Sound familiar? Granted, York has many more than three policeman now, but the population has grown greatly since 1857. Society and crime have also become a lot more complicated.
The editorial comment reminds the citizens that more police would have to be paid with resulting higher taxes. Were the 1857 inhabitants willing to pay that price? Are we?