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Cops N’ Community

There’s a workshop taking place today I’m planning on attending. It’s a meeting between police and the lay individuals in our Harrisburg community.  The goal is for communication between community and the police (me and them in other words) to be strengthened.  It’s funny; I’ve never had much of an opinion about the police – positive or negative – I’ve always been quite neutral.  But now that I’ve got kids, and being a single dad, I feel that I should get involved in as many community happenings as possible.  So I was really pleased to find out about this workshop – “Cops N’ Community.”

Apparently we’re going to learn about law enforcement from their point of view and also how to potentially pinpoint obstacles that are detrimental to our relationships as well as how to increase safety in the neighborhood.  So it’s off to the Heinz-Maker Senior Center for me later on.  Hope it’s productive.

Cutting Crime in Harrisburg

There is now a new way to eliminate certain – minimal – crime, in Harrisburg.  A security hologram has been created by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that facilitates the recognition of fake drivers’ licenses and identification cards.  It is first being tried out by the state of Pennsylvania – no other state in America has used it yet.  According to Barry J. Schoch, PennDOT Secretary, these identity cards have always been “a trusted source for establishing a person’s true identity [and the state is now determined] to combat counterfeit forms of identification, which ultimately jeopardize lives and hold great potential for harm to our national security.”

The hologram works by suppressing the “rainbow” colors that are common with holographic images and thus the hologram seems to switch between black and white as the image is moved.  As well, since the new image has a much higher resolution, it is very easily visible in bright, moderate and low-light environments.

For sure Harrisburg – especially as of late – could do with cracking down on crime; there have been far too many criminal incidents in the city like burglaries and break-ins.  So hopefully this will be the start of something good for the city and Harrisburg will be able to finally crack its crime problem.

Harrisburg Remains Popular Despite Crime Levels

It may seem that it’s all bad news in Harrisburg – what with flooding, financial debt and crime on the up – but it also is becoming quite evident that nothing will deter the loyal people of the city.  Unfortunately however, the police has had to put in additional patrols in the uptown and midtown areas due to more break-ins and robberies, obviously costing Harrisburg extra money – money that it doesn’t really have.

Restaurants, stores and the Midtown Cinema are still attracting lots of trade.  People are clearly not being deterred by the increase in crime.  As well, it seems that even though there have been more break-ins and similar crime, there has been less violent crime in Harrisburg since last year.  Clearly violence is thus more off-putting than robberies.

Hopefully this news indicates that the city of Harrisburg will continue to thrive and that the police will get the crime under control as soon as possible.

The Good People of Harrisburg

The people of Harrisburg seem to be really showing their (good) true colors as of late.  Just last week Susan Corbett – Pennsylvania’s first lady – decided to really put her words of kindness into action when she gave her staff the day off!  It was Thanksgiving and she wanted the employees of the official Governor’s Residence to really have a jolly good time, without having to worry about work. So, she took to the kitchen and prepared her own Thanksgiving meal – so that her staff could truly enjoy theirs – in a really relaxed way, spending lots of quality time with their families.

More goodwill was seen in the Harrisburg community by the Jewish congregation of Kesher Israel.  Since not everyone is able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family, a project was developed by the congregation to feed first responders.  Seven turkeys and many pounds of sides were donated to these hardworking, dedicated individuals.  A local chef who was in charge of the project – Mark Powers – said, “it is a sacrifice – no, it’s a pleasure.”  Another volunteer said that they deserve this as they are giving up being with friends and family and instead, keeping the neighborhoods safe.

Harrisburg has now been providing a Thanksgiving dinner to fire and police departments for a decade, following an inspiration from the 9/11 tragedy.  It was a way of saying “thanks” to these crucial, helpful workers on Thanksgiving.  According to Synder, Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Battalion Chief, “it’s a special day and they take time out of their own lives to provide a nice meal for us.  We are very grateful for that.”

Violence in Town?

It always seemed that Harrisburg was quite a nice little town, quiet, friendly and safe. But now that may be changing. At least, last week’s events seem to suggest that. But one probably cannot really judge a city on one or two random events of crime which the residents of Harrisburg are hoping the event at the Jonestown Road nightclub was.

Last week police were called to the scene and forced to charge three men from Dauphin County for what seemed like an attack that was unprovoked.  Now, as reported in a recent ABC article, three men face a “felony charge of aggravated assault.”  The men come from Lower Paxton Township, Middletown and Harrisburg and are 21-22 year-olds.  The victim was a township resident aged 24 and was immediately taken to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, treated for head and facial injuries.

Two of the men were sent to Dauphin County Prison with a $25,000 bail.  The third attacker turned himself into the police a few days later.


Police Lose Popularity on Poplar Street

It seems like the police blew it again.  A recent incident on Poplar Street at the Economy Inn Hotel most certainly did not put the police in a good light even if it was ultimately for a good cause and will in the long-term assist police strategy.  A man and woman were in a hotel room when the Harrisburg Police Department accused them of armed robbery. The individuals exited the room about half an hour after the police storming began.

According to Chief Bob Smith, “it was an ignorant attempt by another law enforcement agency.”  The street was closed off 15 minutes before the arrival of the State Police and traffic was rerouted.

At the same time, Smith was trying to work out exactly what the warrant was but after his phone conversation to Arkansas, realized no warrants had been issued.  Once the two had been taken into custody, he learned the Arkansas authorities did not want the two to be detained so they were released on the scene!

But this was the plan.  According to Smith, it was all undertaken for strategy and tactics.  According to Smith, “everything went according to plan and there were no problems.  We conducted this operation with safety of our citizens at the top most priority, we are sorry if we inconvenienced motorist through Harrisburg by closing Poplar Street.  The situation was resolved where no one was hurt.”

Nonetheless, on the other side of the coin, the operation was criticized as it can be somewhat risky and according to the article in The Daily Register, officers become very frustrated “when they’ve taken risks for what amounts to no good reason.”

It may have been an important endeavor for the Harrisburg Police Department, but I don’t think it’s going to end up winning them any awards in the popularity department, especially not on Poplar Street.