HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — No city is immune to violent crime, including in Pennsylvania’s capital.
On Tuesday, Harrisburg police showed how they’re making a difference.
In 2015, Commissioner Thomas Carter wanted to do something to curb violent crimes in the city. He knew he couldn’t stop them all, but he could seize as many illegal guns as possible.
Six years and 1,370-illegal-guns-off-the-street later, he said he’s proud of his officers.
“The phone continues to ring. We continue to answer the call,” said Capt. Atah Akakpo-Martin, Harrisburg Bureau of Police.
“Every gun, shotgun, rifle that we get off the street, hopefully — you know — we are saving someone’s life,” Commissioner Carter said.
The effort is perhaps saving lives on both sides of the barrel.
“I believe that our youngest person that we took a gun from was 10 years old,” Carter said.
Carter said he’s heard the criticism that his department doesn’t do enough, but he wants people to know, his men and women are putting their lives on the line every day.
“We’re talking about the possibility of one of my officers getting shot or one of my officers shooting someone that possesses a gun,” Commissioner Carter said.
It’s not just guns. Department officials said they’ve responded to 200 shots fired calls since October. They’ve also seized $390,000 in 2020, and the forensic unit processed 369 crime scenes.
“That’s three people that did all that work just out of the office alone, ladies and gentlemen,” said Capt. Terry Wealand, Harrisburg Bureau Police.
It’s brutal, heartbreaking work.
In 2020, the department investigated 25 murders. In 2021, that number is three. The only case without an arrest is the murder of Christopher “CJ’ Hill who was shot on Division Street on March 6 and later died from his injuries on March 12.
“That’s still an active, ongoing investigation and there’s been significant process identifying the perpetrator of that crime,” Wealand said.
If you want to turn in one of these guns, call the non-emergency county dispatch line at (717) 558-6900.
“We will come and relieve the handgun or rifle or the shotgun from you without any questions asked,” Carter said.