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Beating Crime in Harrisburg

There’s definitely been too much crime in my city.  I really didn’t know about that before I moved in, but there again, it’s not exactly something I researched much.  I was just desperate to get far away from my ex.  But now that I keep hearing about all the crime, I’m seriously beginning to reconsider and look at the option of relocating.  It’s hardly the kind of place I want to be (part-time) bringing up my kids.  I mean, if people can go so low as beating up the elderly, what hope is there?

So, while I wouldn’t exactly say I was delighted to learn about the new measures our Mayor is implementing to try and beat this crime – I mean, I’d prefer we didn’t have the situation to begin with – learning about District Ed Marsico’s promise to provide the necessary funding to install cameras in the city as a deterrent, was good news overall.

Problem is though, I read recently that the Mayor isn’t too happy as this was meant to have happened already.  The money, it appears, just hasn’t come through.  Ms. Thompson thus plans on following up with him.  But apparently it might not just be Marsico’s fault.  He claims that it’s not just a case of putting cameras up – they need to be monitored. Oh politics, politics; it’s not my job, blah, blah.

Anyway the upshot is, I really don’t know what’s going to happen.  Tweeter JulieCBS21 recently pointed out that Harrisburg is ranked the 20th worst city for crime.    Of course, if you ask Ms. Thompson, she’ll claim the city is safe.  So I wonder what she would say to Heather Murphy’s claim on NeighborhoodScout.com that one’s “odds of being the victim of violent crime in Harrisburg are 1-in-62.”

Still, there are a lot of great things about the city.  The kids love coming; the restaurants are great and together with Thompson’s promises and Dauphin County’s generous donation of $25,000 to beat crime through various methods, I think things are going to look up.  At least, I hope they are.

How Low Can You Go?

I just heard some pretty not nice news today that is certainly not going to help with my mood for trying to enjoy the Super Bowl later.  In the last month there have been eight assaults on Harrisburg’s senior population.  It seems that the teenage attackers are going for society’s most vulnerable  – I mean really, how low can you go?  These elderly have ended up with bruises, broken bones and have had their money stolen.  It’s awful.

The most recent attack took place last Wednesday on Woodbine and North 4 Streets and Schuylkill and North 3rd Streets – both with men over the age of 50 being attacked.  The individuals who perpetrated the attacks were aged between 14 and 17. It’s really upsetting and just making me wonder if Harrisburg really is the right place for me to (semi)raise my kids.

Harrisburg’s Finances Getting into Shape?

It seems that there has (finally in my opinion) been an attempt on the part of my city to finally fix up its disastrous finances.  Harrisburg recently hired John Campbell, allegedly a 23-year-old financial whiz, to sort things out, earlier this month. I’m just hoping for one thing right now, that improved finances will lead to more services – or resumed services, like the reopening of the Post Office – for us Harrisburg residents.

I was a little concerned when I learned that the guy is still in school though. He is studying for a double bachelor’s in business admin and economics though, so let’s hope he’s a top-rate student.  That made me realize just how young he is…or, just how old I am!

Apart from my small little gripes (like the Post Office), crime is on the increase in Harrisburg and there just isn’t much money around for basic street repairs, so clearly things have to change. It just remains to be seen if Campbell is up for the task, having supported the city’s bankruptcy claim. Mind you, I’m not sure what other choice he had. I sure don’t know what I would have done; not that I’m a financial whizz.

At least the man is enthusiastic and positive; Harrisburg certainly could do with an injection of that right now. Let’s just wait and see.

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.

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.

Harrisburg Man Let Off

A Harrisburg man has just been told he is free to go when a mistrial was called after a jury failed to reach a verdict.  According to an article in PennLive, the 21-year-old man, Damon Lewis, was accused of “robbing two women at a city bus stop.”  Probably what ultimately caused the case to be dropped was the fact that neither of the witnesses were able to select the man from a photo lineup just days following the robbery.  Nonetheless they were “able to finger him at trial and in an ATM photo.”  They also said that he “held a gun to their heads and repeatedly pulled the trigger.”

Lewis Still Acquitted

Perhaps Lewis should have been a bit more sensible in his thinking though when he tried to avoid the police by hiding on  a roof when they came for his rest during the holdup on 20th and Market Streets on August 23.  He has now been acquitted by the jury for this.  Further, he has been charged on two counts of robbery and of using one of the victim’s bank cards.

Lewis might also not be so lucky vis-à-vis the other robbery charge since Deputy District Attorney Johnny Baer has said that he will be retried on this.  It sure is a shame that the ladies weren’t able to make the identification but a lot can be said for shock in a situation like this and thus there is still a chance Lewis will be found guilty at a retrial.