PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – abc27 News conducts quarterly polls asking our viewers what issues are important to them. One of the main concerns was crime throughout the Midstate, particularly murders, burglaries and assaults.
“I’m lucky to be alive every time I walk around in my crib. I could get shot any day,” said Harrisburg resident Steve Stephens.
Stephens says he’s been shot at before.
“Look at the bullet holes there, that is, I was sitting here running through my house, these bullets right here almost went through my body,” Stephens said.
“You wouldn’t think crime is down, but the numbers won’t lie,” Harrisburg Bureau of Police Capt. Terry Wealand said.
In Dauphin County, murders, burglaries and assaults are down so far compared to 2022. This is according to the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System.
There have been 22 homicides in the city of Harrisburg in 2022 and 12 so far in 2023.
“It failed for various reasons. We have a lot going on here. The most important thing we have done here is to saturate the police. We had several police officers out there doing special operations on the streets to get weapons and stem some of the violence that was taking place,” Captain Wealand said.
In York County, murders, burglaries and assaults have also decreased so far compared to last year.
“What if I told you statistically that crime is down? Would you believe it?” asked reporter Irelend Viscount.
“No… That’s crazy, crime doesn’t exist here,” responded York City resident Tanya Gilbert.
York City Police say they have several key initiatives in place to address the problem.
“We identify specific members of the community who are involved in gun violence and reach out to those individuals and let them know, ‘Hey, we know what you’re doing. We know you’re out here, carrying guns and shooting. “I know we may not have enough to charge right now, but we’ve been watching you,” said York City Police Department Captain Daniel Lentz.
Lentz added that support and resources will be provided for those interested in a different lifestyle.
“This one person just needed an alarm clock, you know, that’s what they needed to kind of change their life, go to work, go to school, whatever, and you know it was a simple request “This individual has not been involved in violence since then,” said Capt. Lentz.
In Lancaster County, burglaries and assaults are also down compared to last year, and there has been one more murder so far this year than last year.
“It’s great to hear, I don’t see a lot of crime,” said Lancaster City resident Aaron Katz.
The Lancaster City Police Bureau prides itself on its ability to investigate all types of crime, setting it apart from other areas.
“Our criminal investigations division consists of a property crimes division, a violent crimes division and a special investigations unit that we handle all crimes,” said Sergeant Todd Grager of the Lancaster City Police Department.
As crime is down across the Midstate but questions remain as to why people commit crimes, Wealand says love, money and drugs are his thoughts.
“My biggest opinion on how something like this happens, and it may not be the most popular thing in the world, but it’s violent entertainment and lack of parenting, parental failure,” Captain Wealand said.
“It’s the games, Call of Duty, the adult parents not disciplining their kids,” Stephens said.
Every officer I spoke with emphasized their ongoing efforts to develop new initiatives to reduce crime. However, they stressed the importance of community collaboration to achieve these goals.