The City of Henderson says it fears that if a new ranking for the top ten safest cities of its size were to come out, they might not make the cut. Officials with the city say it hasn’t been ranked since 2016, so on Tuesday, the mayor and city council members will hold a special meeting to discuss the major challenges facing the city.
During her first State of the City address this month, Mayor Debra March applauded the city’s accomplishments, it’s growth and vision for the future.
“Henderson residents enjoy the lowest crime rates in the valley and some of the lowest in the country,” Mayor March said as she applauded.
As Mayor March and city council members strategize to keep that standing, they’re going to dig into a report that identifies 14-major challenge areas for the city, including, “unacceptable crime levels.”
From 2012 to 2016 violent crime increased by 38.2 percent.
“I honestly, didn’t know about the crime rates,” said Mackenzie Clemmer, a resident.
The population grew between 2012 and 2017, but patrol staff decreased during those last two years. However, 26 new officers have since been added through the “More Cops Initiative.”
The city says they’re proactive by ranking the challenges outlined in the report and then it’ll look for solutions so the mayor and city council members can tackle them in the future.
The report also points out quote “unacceptable public safety response times.”
It says police average response times have increased to well over nine minutes at the longest when their target should be at eight minutes. Fire department times average below nine minutes, but the national target suggests six minutes.
“I would be extremely worried, I really would,” said Pat Monell, a resident.
City spokesperson Kathleen Richards says Henderson meets the target 60-percent of the time.
“We situate our fire stations so that we are in theory four minutes away from a call, but what we’re finding is that we have such a tremendous increase in call volume over the last five years or say that our firefighters aren’t necessarily starting from our station,” Richards said.
The City of Henderson has added a new fire station. The tenth one is in the west part of town.