Mayor Leighton: More Police In 2014

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WILKES-BARRE -- There’s some good news for people living in Wilkes-Barre.

On Friday Mayor Tom Leighton released the city’s spending plan for 2014, which contains no tax increase and the possibility of hiring new police officers.

This year, nine people have been killed in the city of Wilkes-Barre, that`s triple the amount from last year.

Mayor Tom Leighton said he wants to stop this year`s crimes from becoming a recurring trend, and his goal is to hire more police officers in 2014.

Those who live in Wilkes-Barre said more police are necessary.

“Absolutely, this area needs more cops. There`s a lot of crimes and violence in this area and definitely we can benefit from new cops,” said Jonine Owens.

Under the mayor`s budget for 2014, the $42.8 million spending plan has no tax or fee increases and a goal to hire 10 new officers.

However Charlotte Raup, the president of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch, said that`s not enough.

“There hasn`t been a police officer hired since 2009, and there`s many of them that have retired and left, so I want to know how many new ones we`re getting, so we`re just replacing the old ones,” said Raup.

All the victims in this year`s murders were shot to death with five of those homicides happening in the Heights Section.

City council has already taken a step to fight crime in problem areas of the city by passing a one-strike ordinance for rental properties.

Those properties can be shut down for six months if drugs or weapons are found at that location.

Residents said they hope to see Leighton's push to hire more cops, come true.

“The police that they do have are doing a fine job, they just need some help probably. I think it`s a great thing if he puts 10 on, good for him,” said Raymond Kruk.

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