WILKES-BARRE—What will it take to make Wilkes-Barre a safer city?
It is the question many are asking after a spike in violent crime.
At a crime watch meeting along East Main Street Monday night, people said they just want it to stop.
“I think it’s just horrible, it’s horrible and people are scared to death. It’s not isolated anymore,” said Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch leader Charlotte Raup.
“We definitely need a lot more police, yes, absolutely and we need people out there and calling and in the crime watch meetings, we should be filling them up,” added Raup.
“I think we have to do something drastic to get it back, desperate measures or desperate times for desperate measures, it’s just something, we have to band together and find a solution for this,” said Mike Shinko of Wilkes-Barre.
City leaders recently passed a new one strike ordinance, which they said should help curb crime.
It means rental properties can be closed for six months if there is a drug or weapon violation at that location.
“If it works, it’s going to be great, but I guess it’s too soon to tell right now,” said Maryjane Shinko of Wilkes-Barre.
Eight people are dead after homicides this year in the Diamond City.
All were men, and all were shot to death.
That compares to three homicides all of last year, according to FBI statistics.
The eight homicides this year happened at 7 locations in the city.
The last 5 have happened in what is known as “The Heights.”
View Wilkes-Barre Deadly Shootings 2013 in a larger map
That’s no surprise to anyone we spoke with.
“That’s always been bad, historically, it’s been a bad part of town. I grew up here, I’ve lived here my whole life and it’s always been a bad part of town,” said Thomas Lynn.
The FBI released crime statistics for 2012 Monday.
Those numbers revealed that for a city of about 41-thousand people, Wilkes-Barre had about 172 violent crimes last year.
Scranton had 252 recorded violent crimes, but Scranton had no homicides last year, compared to three in Wilkes-Barre.