PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) – abc27 News conducts quarterly surveys asking our viewers which issues are important to them. One of the top concerns was crime across the Midstate, specifically murders, burglaries and assaults.
“I’m lucky to be alive every time I walk in my crib, I can get shot any day,” says City of Harrisburg resident Steve Stephens.
Stephens says, he has been shot at before.
“See them bullet holes there, this is, I was sitting here, and I went running in my house, these bullets here almost went in my body,” said Stephens.
“You wouldn’t think the crime is down, but the numbers aren’t going to lie,” said Harrisburg Bureau of Police Captain Terry Wealand.
To date in Dauphin County murders, burglaries and assaults are down from 2022. This is according to the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System.
The City of Harrisburg had 22 homicides in 2022, so far in 2023, 12.
“It’s down for a couple of different reasons. We have a lot going on here. The main things that we’ve been doing here is saturation details…We had several officers out there doing details out on the street trying to get guns and curb some of the violence that’s been taking place,” said Capt. Wealand.
In York County to date murders, burglaries, and assaults also down from last year.
“So, what if I told you statistically that crime is down, would you believe it?” asked reporter Irelend Viscount.
“No…That’s crazy, crime isn’t down around here,” responded City of York resident Tanya Gilbert.
York City Police say they have several key initiatives to address the problem.
“We identify specific members of the community, who are involved in gun violence and we reach out to those individuals and we let them know hey we know what you’re doing, we know that you’re out here carrying guns, shooting, you know we may not have enough for charges right now but were watching you,” said York City Police Department Captain Daniel Lentz.
Lentz added that support and resources are provided for those interested in pursuing a different lifestyle.
“This one individual just needed an alarm clock, you know that was what they needed to, kind of turn their life around, get to work and get to school, whatever and you know it was a simple request and we haven’t heard from that individual since, hadn’t been involved in any violence,” said Capt. Lentz.
In Lancaster County to date burglaries and assaults are also down from last year and so far this year there is one more murder than last year.
“It’s great to hear, I don’t see a lot of crime much,” said City of Lancaster resident Aaron Katz.
The Lancaster City Police Bureau takes pride in their ability to investigate all types of crimes, distinguishing themselves from other areas.
“Our criminal investigative division, we have a property crimes unit, a violent crime unit and a special investigations unit, which we tend to all crimes,” said Lancaster City Bureau of Police Sergeant Todd Grager.
As crime is down across the Midstate, but the question remains, why do people commit crimes, Wealand says love, money, and drugs, but his opinion.
“My biggest opinion on how this kind of stuff happens and it may not be the most popular thing out there in the world, but it’s violent entertainment and lack of parenting, parental failure,” said Capt. Wealand.
“It’s the games, Call of Duty, they grow up parents aren’t disciplining the kids,” said Stephens.
Every officer I spoke with emphasized their ongoing effort to develop new initiatives aimed at reducing crime. However, they stressed the importance of community collaboration to achieve these goals.