Harrisburg 'Safe Zone' unveiled, then taken down - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Harrisburg 'Safe Zone' unveiled, then taken down

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Confusion ensued Tuesday night after Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson unveiled the city's second "Safe Zone," which was then broken down by Harrisburg police an hour later.

Barricades and police officers were stationed at the intersection of 14th and Vernon Streets, the scene of two recent homicides, at around 4:30 p.m. By 6:00, the barricades were gone and so were the police vehicles.

Thompson had said the Safe Zones would be staffed from 2 p.m. until 1 a.m. each day, but that times could shift in the future. Police Chief Pierre Ritter told abc27 that's exactly what happened in this case, in an effort to better patrol the area and "keep the criminals guessing."

City Councilwoman Eugenia Smith, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said 6 p.m. seemed like an early time to break down the Safe Zone, saying most criminal activity happens at night.

"I'd like to see some continuity, because patrolling police officers is not as effective as cars actually in the neighborhood," she said.

Smith said she plans to speak with Ritter over the phone regarding specific parameters of the zones moving forward.

Thompson said the city's first Safe Zone at 19th and Bellevue streets earlier this month was a success, citing 17 traffic citations, four drug arrests and the recovery of three illegal guns.

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