Crime Down in Wilkes-Barre?

WILKES-BARRE — Police in Wilkes-Barre converged on the home along Carey Avenue Friday afternoon. Three people were hauled away in handcuffs, and a number of weapons recovered inside. The raid comes on the same day city leaders gathered to talk about crime.

Once again, cop cars with flashing lights line the streets of Wilkes-Barre in what’s become an all-too familiar scene.

A stolen ATV led Wilkes-Barre Police to the house on Carey Avenue. Police took three people into custody and walked away with a number of semiautomatic guns. Sandra Dobson watched it all.

“You never know what`s going on, where the bullets are going to come from, if there`s going to be a raid. I`m afraid to even let me children out on their own porch,” said Sandra Dobson, of Wilkes-Barre.

Earlier this week, Wilkes-Barre had its sixth homicide of the year and it’s only July. Police just made an arrest in that shooting Thursday.

But Mayor Tom Leighton says statistically crime is down since he took office in 2004.

“As we shrink crime, territory is going shrink and they`re going to be fighting for territory and quite honestly, that`s what has been happening. We`re not happy about it. And we`re not going to lose this battle,” said Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton.

Leighton held a news conference with Senator Bob Casey outside the Wilkes-Barre Police Headquarters earlier in the day, pushing for funding for local law enforcement, just hours before the latest incident. District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis also acknowledged the issue.

“Everybody`s trying to make sure that their neighborhoods are safe. These police officers throughout the County, they live in these neighborhoods as well and they`re concerned,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

But Sandra Dobson says that’s not enough.

“They need to really get into what`s the focus of what`s going on in this city because it`s getting out of hand. Crime is not down. Crime is not down,” said Dobson.

The DA says the latest homicide suspect, Joshua Ovalles, turned himself over to police last night and was arraigned this morning. They still don’t know where he had been for the last three or four days since the deadly shooting.



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