EAST LAMPETER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — State lawmakers are addressing the increase in violent crime and are holding a series of public meetings. The second one was Monday in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County.

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Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate increased 27% from 2019 to 2020 — more than any other state in the nation. This statistic references homicides and assaults.

Police chiefs testified about the problem of hiring and keeping officers at the meeting, and a Lancaster County group that helps survivors of the growing sex trafficking trade spoke.

“I do think if there was more money that was granted from the state, then they could have the additional money to pay for additional help but also to do training and have those resources to train the officers,” said Janelle Esbenshade, interim executive director at the Northstar Initiative.

FBI statistics show Pennsylvania has the highest violent crime rate of any state in the northeast.