Is Crime Hurting Wilkes-Barre’s Image?

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WILKES-BARRE -- Two men dead and one hurt after two shootings in Wilkes-Barre within 10 hours of each other.

Helen Wheeler, who's lived here in the Parsons section of the city for 20 years, believes crime has gradually been getting worse.

"You didn't have to worry about your cars. You didn't have to worry about if you came out the door at night. Now you do," said Wheeler.

Mayor Tom Leighton says a lot of the city's problems stem from drugs and illegal weapons, things he says the city's been trying to crack down on and that they'll continue to try to eliminate from the streets.

"You're never going to eliminate crime 100%. Our goal is to eliminate the crime to a point where our neighborhoods are safe," said Mayor Tom Leighton.

Mayor Leighton also says much of the crime in Wilkes-Barre happens in small pockets, amounting to about 5%of the city. He also says the police have increased their patrols since he took office in 2004.

However, Helen Wheeler says she knows people who are still scared.

"The rough element is coming in and most of the people, they stay indoors. They lock their doors. They lock their windows," said Wheeler.

"They should not feel in danger of coming into our downtown or going into our neighborhoods. These instances could have happened anywhere. Unfortunately, they happened in the city of Wilkes-Barre," said Leighton.