More Questions About Crime In Wilkes-Barre After Shooting

WILKES-BARRE — It was another busy day for officers in Wilkes-Barre, investigating another homicide.

The mayor of Wilkes-Barre has been taking some heat after he claimed the city’s crime rate is down since he took office, but even law enforcement officials are now admitting that violent crime is on the rise.

Police say David George, 24, was shot in the head and killed on a porch outside his mother’s house Thursday night.

Police have made no arrests or identified suspects at this time.

This is now the seventh homicide in the city in as many months.

Last week, city officials told Newswatch 16 crime was statistically down in the city. We broke down some statistics as city officials revised the statements they made last week.

Neighbors looked on along South Welles Street in Wilkes-Barre after deadly shots were fired again.

Police say David George was shot and killed on his mother’s front porch.

According to a search warrant, he had called her just a few minutes earlier to tell her he was on his way home.

Still no arrests or suspects and that’s not enough for David George’s sister.

“Whoever shot my little brother in the back of his head is still just somewhere right now, probably thinking about it, talking about it, probably thinking they got away with it, but they didn’t.”

Police say the victim’s brother was so upset he attempted to attack a photographer for the Citizen’s Voice newspaper. The brother was taken away by police.

The George family is not the only one mourning a loss from a homicide in Wilkes-Barre.

This map shows where each of the homicides happened in Wilkes-Barre so far this year.


View Wilkes-Barre Deadly Shootings 2013 in a larger map.

Mayor Tom Leighton says the violent crime sticks to certain pockets in the city.

“Probably 80, 85 percent of our city neighborhoods are safe. The other 20 percent, however, create a bad environment, and we’re aware of that,” Mayor Leighton said.

Mayor Leighton revised his statement from last week when he told Newswatch 16 that crime was down in the city.

“The statistics show crime overall is down and violent crime is up. We have acknowledged that, that crime is up, the violent crime is up.”

The Pennsylvania State Police web site shows that, from 2012 to 2013, rapes, robberies, burglaries, and homicides are on the rise in Wilkes-Barre, and overall crime has increased bit by bit since 2010.

“I don’t hang my hat on statistics. They change rapidly, and if you have a good year, I guarantee you, you’re going to have a not-so-good year sometime in the near future,” said Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Gerry Dessoye.

Chief Dessoye says they’ve recently deployed more officers in the city.

The mayor says they’ve increased their anti-crime unit from two to six officers.

As far as this particular incident, police continue to look for suspects.

Anyone with information about Thursday night’s deadly shooting is asked to call the Wilkes-Barre police department.