Pottstown Crime Affected By Shorthanded Department, Increase In Drug Trade

POTTSTOWN, PA – There is a fairly simple reason why violent crime in Pottstown seems to have been on the rise in 2014.

The police were short-handed.

“At the beginning of 2014, we were down by 15 officers,” said Pottstown Police Chief Richard Drumheller.

“As a result, we had to pull people off the drug detail and, not surprisingly, we saw an increase in the drug problem,” he said.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150308/pottstown-crime-affected-by-shorthanded-department-increase-in-drug-trade

Wilkes-Barre Mayoral Candidates Talk Crime

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The five mayoral candidates sat before about 200 citizens Monday evening in the ballroom of Wilkes University’s Henry Student Center to lay out their platforms and answer questions on their plans if elected.

The Wilkes-Barre Downtown Residents Association, a nonpartisan organization, held the two-hour long forum, the first of which to bring all city mayoral candidates together before the public. Eileen Kenyon, coordinator for DRA, said the association sponsored the event to give people in the area a chance to come and listen to what the candidates had to say.

“We have to elect a mayor, and we hope this will let them make an informed decision,” she said.

Each candidate gave a brief opening statement before association members moderated a question-and-answer session during which they broached such topics as unpaid pensions of city employees, how to attract wage-earning residents, their assessments of city hall and city resources, and crime.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/wilkes-barre-mayoral-candidates-talk-crime-1.1875532

Wilkes-Barre Shooting Victim Spoke Out About Drug House

WILKES-BARRE, PA — A mechanic who frequently reported criminal activity near his home was gunned down in front of his residence on Willow Street early Friday morning.

Neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots just after 3:30 a.m. in the area of 62 Willow St., where police found the body of 49-year-old Donald Bachman Jr.

Bachman was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:25 a.m. by Luzerne County Deputy Coroner Tom Moran.

An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Mary Pascucci revealed Bachman died of multiple gunshot wounds. His death was ruled a homicide, Moran said.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/home_top-local-news/153245723/

Corrections Officer, Others Charged In Prison Drug-Smuggling Scheme

Eight people, including a Chester County correctional officer, inmates and their friends, have been arrested in an operation to smuggle drugs into the county prison, according to prosecutors.

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office said the group concocted a scheme for the correctional officer to bring in heroin, prescription drugs and other contraband to inmates at the Chester County Prison.

Correctional Officer Douglas Keck, 45, would obtain the contraband from inmates’ friends outside of the detention facility, then bring the smuggled goods to the inmates, officials said. He was paid $100 per delivery.

“We expect members of the criminal justice system to keep drugs away from criminals, not act as an in-person drug dealer,” District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150428_Corrections_officer__others_charged_in_prison_drug-smuggling_scheme.html#29ufP9sCum30fbyo.99

Allegheny County DA, Monroeville Police Team To Reduce Drug Activity, Violent Crime

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office will work with Monroeville police to reduce drug activity and violent crime in the eastern suburbs, officials said Thursday.

Drug activity in Monroeville has increased in the past six or seven years as Pittsburgh police efforts pushed drug sales out of Homewood and into nearby suburbs, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said.

“In a relatively short period of time, I think we can knock those numbers down,” Zappala said at a news conference in the Monroeville municipal building.

Police are monitoring the movement of narcotics in Monroeville’s business districts, he said. His office and other law enforcement agencies plan to work with Monroeville police to refocus the department’s efforts to monitor certain areas of the municipality.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8225273-74/monroeville-drug-police#ixzz3YFEFf2vU
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Cops: Edwardsville Man Stashed 95 Heroin Packets In His Anus

KINGSTON, PA — A man from Edwardsville removed a plastic baggie allegedly containing 95 heroin packets from his anus because he wanted to be “honest” with police, according to charges filed.

Dwight Ahmah Moses, 35, of Green Street, was arraigned Thursday by District Judge Joseph Carmody in West Pittston on two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and one count each of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license. He was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $50,000 bail.

Police stopped Moses on West Market Street at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday after he failed to use turn signals when pulling away from the area of Schuyler Avenue. Police had watched Moses sitting in the car as a woman entered and exited within five minutes before the traffic stop, according to the criminal complaint.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/153094429/

Hundreds Of Heroin Packets, Gun Seized From Plymouth Residence

PLYMOUTH, PA— Police confiscated more than 600 heroin packets and a handgun during the arrest of three people Thursday night.

Police arrested Pedro Manuel Noriega, 41, of West Main Street, Plymouth, and Jason Demski, 32, address listed as homeless, when they allegedly arrived at a residence on James Street to deliver heroin.

Noriega allegedly had 125 heroin packets and Demski had nearly $500 in his pockets, police said.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152990273/

Chief’s Letter To Larksville Home Raises Issues

LARKSVILLE, PA — A police chief’s “welcome” letter targeting a suspected drug den and prostitution house on Murray Street has apparently accomplished its goal.

The tenant, a younger woman, hasn’t been seen since, neighbors say. The constant vehicle traffic from a stream of visitors immediately ceased, they say. And the landlord quickly issued an eviction notice.

Larksville police Chief John Edwards last week delivered the strongly-worded letter to the 10 homes on Murray Street, but most on the small block knew who it was meant for: the tenant of 39 Murray St. and all her visitors.

Edwards vowed to zero in on the people suspected of illegal activity until they “are arrested and imprisoned, or leave Larksville Borough.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/chief-s-letter-to-larksville-home-raises-issues-1.1862664

Turkey Hill Customers Question Safety In Wake Of Robberies

When Turkey Hill comes to mind, most people think of flavorful ice cream and sweet iced tea. But in Wilkes-Barre, many mention the recent spike in robberies at the company’s stores before thinking of their signature snacks.

Since January 2014, city police have responded to at least 22 Turkey Hill robberies, 13 of which occurred in the last four months.

Frequent customers have not abandoned these stores, but some have questioned the safety during late-night hours.

Lisa Cummings of Mountain Top often visits the Turkey Hill on North Pennsylvania Avenue after work, but said she would probably not go to the store at 3 a.m.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/turkey-hill-customers-question-safety-in-wake-of-robberies-1.1862265

In Focus: Church Reaching Out To Sherman Hills To Be Community Partner In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Is there hope for Sherman Hills?

The bigger question — Is there hope for the City of Wilkes-Barre?

The Restored Church on North Franklin Street will do its part to try to revive the city’s morale and its pride, and eliminate its fear.

The church will hold an event — “I Love My City” — on Saturday, April 25 in the Sherman Hills apartment complex parking lot. All residents of the city are welcome with their children. The church hopes the event will serve as a catalyst for similar events to be held.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/152853433/

Deadly 2013 Lands Wilkes-Barre On ‘Murder Capital’ List

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The city’s bloody 2013 has placed it on a list of the Top 30 “Murder Capitals in America.”

The 13 homicides that took place in Wilkes-Barre made for the deadliest year in city history. The city was ranked 18th on the list.

NeighborhoodScout, an information website which compiles data on neighborhoods and cities throughout the country, used FBI numbers on homicides to create a list of cities with the highest murder rates. The report lists Wilkes-Barre as having 12 murders and does not include a case involving an accidental shooting, which the FBI classified as involuntary manslaughter.

The report says that until recently, major cities ranked among the dominating murder capitals, but this list is “populated mostly by middle-sized cities as well as smaller cities in close proximity to larger ones.”

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/deadly-2013-lands-w-b-on-murder-capital-list-1.1861214

With Crime On Their Minds, Concerned Residents Again Press Wilkes-Barre City Council On Rash Of Violence

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The topic won’t fizzle out.

Another city council meeting saw yet another gauntlet of pleas from concerned citizens about Wilkes-Barre’s recent rash of violence.

Council members spent most of Thursday’s hour-long meeting assuring residents that police and city administration were doing everything within their power to squash a three-week-long crime wave that produced six shootings, two deaths and six other injuries.

Council Chairman Mike Merritt conceded things will get worse before they get better.

Read more:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152836901/Residents-press-council-about-crime

Former Police Chief Tony George Urges Mayor Thomas Leighton To Address Wilkes-Barre’s Current State Of “Violence And Lawlessness”

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Citing a “crisis of lawlessness,” former Police Chief Tony George on Monday pressed Mayor Thomas Leighton to restore law and order to the city of Wilkes-Barre in the wake of one of its most vicious weekends to date.

George, a city councilman and Democratic candidate for Wilkes-Barre mayor, urged Leighton in a press release to address the state of public safety by implementing citywide saturation patrols with an emphasis in “the most troubled neighborhoods,” including South Wilkes-Barre, North End and the Heights.

Over six days, two people have been killed and five others seriously injured in five separate shootings.

Show of force

During a press conference at police headquarters Monday afternoon, Leighton said patrols have been ongoing since 2013 and will continue as long as there is violent crime in Wilkes-Barre.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152763481/

Norristown Police Collaborate With Social Services For ‘Whole Government’ Initiative

Editor’s note:  Alas, Pottstown leadership doesn’t seem to get this concept.  Two thumbs up to Norristown leadership for being proactive and thinking outside of the box.  We like what we are seeing.

NORRISTOWN, PA – Police are called with increasing frequency for complaints about a homeless man with mental health issues. A boy who lives in a household familiar to authorities for domestic issues has started skipping school and breaking curfew. An unemployed mother of three with no previous criminal record is arrested for drug possession.

These are examples of bad situations that many law enforcement officials agree often get worse.

But what if that was not necessarily the case? What if police and other public health and safety professionals collaborated on these cases using a comprehensive strategy that enabled them to mitigate risk factors and intervene to address small infractions before they snowball into larger ones, effectively reducing and preventing crime?

That is the goal of the Whole of Government concept, presented at the 2015 International Conference on Proven Collaborative Strategies for Improved Community Wellness and Safety recently held at the King of Prussia Radisson and conducted by the Penn State Justice and Safety Institute (PSJSI). The concept, which has a proven track record of success in Canada, is being implemented by a small number of forward-thinking law enforcement agencies in the U.S., including Norristown.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150404/norristown-police-collaborate-with-social-services-for-whole-government-initiative

Heroin, Cash Seized, 3 People Arrested In Drug Investigations

HAZLETON, PA — Three people face drug charges and cash and drugs were seized in two separate investigations Thursday, police said.

In one of the cases, a woman trying to flee police struck an undercover vehicle, police said.

Police identified the woman as Passion Tairi Flores, 24, of West Birch Street.

According to police: A controlled drug buy with Flores was arranged near the intersection of North Locust and Third streets at approximately 5 p.m. As officers closed in on Flores, she accelerated her vehicle and tried to get away, striking an undercover vehicle and preventing her escape. Flores and her passenger, Anthony Morales Jr. 22 of Brooklyn, New York were arrested. Approximately $900 in cash and 220 packets of heroin were seized from her vehicle.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152497462/

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Among Most Indulgent Cities

Perhaps the Wilkes-Barre metro area parties too much.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area ranked as the fourth-most indulgent metro in the United States by the personal finance website badcredit.org. The website used data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and credit information from Experian, a credit reporting bureau, to analyze how indulgent residents are in 105 metro areas.

They looked at the obesity rate, alcohol consumption, number of smokers and the average consumer debt to determine the most indulgent metros. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro came in at No. 4

with:

■ 7.8 percent of residents claiming to be heavy drinkers.

■  21.5 percent who say they smoke everyday.

■ An obesity rate of 31.9 percent.

■  $28,974 in average consumer debt.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-w-b-among-most-indulgent-cities-1.1849010

Special Report: What Is Being Done To Combat Crime In Pottstown?

Pottstown, PA – Ask law enforcement dealing with violent crime in Pottstown about the biggest obstacle to catching criminals and they are likely to say it’s silence.

Or, more specifically, silence when police ask witnesses to provide information about a crime.

Repeatedly in recent months, as police have been grappling with a wave of violence, Pottstown Police Chief Rick Drumheller has pleaded with people to come forward and say what they know.

“It’s time to pick a side,” Drumheller said during a Dec. 3, 2014 council meeting.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150310/special-report-what-is-being-done-to-combat-crime-in-pottstown

Special Project: Is Pottstown More Dangerous Than Other Towns?

Editor’s note:  A continuation of Evan Brandt’s series about crime in Pottstown.  Well worth the read.  The blogging community has been trying to get this problem addressed for a while now and it’s great that the mainstream media and Montco officials are getting on the bandwagon to clean up Pottstown.  We feel Pottstown has great potential but it can’t be realized until crime is brought under control.  When criminals learn that Pottstown isn’t open for business anymore, redevelopment can really take hold.

How many times have you heard it in the past year?

“Pottstown is turning into another Reading.”

It’s the kind of comparison not meant to reflect well on the Berks County seat, labeled in 2011 as the nation’s poorest city.

But comparisons are a way to put things in context.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150309/special-project-is-pottstown-more-dangerous-than-other-towns

Special Project: Is Pottstown Becoming More Dangerous?

Editor’s note:  Nice job, Evan.  Make sure you read the whole article because this is a good news, bad news piece.  Crime is still a problem in Pottstown.

POTTSTOWN, PA – Crime is not up in Pottstown, at least not according to the numbers.

Crime in the borough last year was, in nearly all categories, below the borough’s 10-year average, according to a Mercury analysis of crime statistics provided by the Pottstown Police Department.

The numbers of serious crimes like murder, rape and arson have remained relatively flat since 2005, and in addition, the statistics show that 2014 saw 13 percent fewer major crimes and a decrease of more than 16 percent in all reportable crimes.

Pottstown has not had more than two murders per year since 2007.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150308/special-project-is-pottstown-becoming-more-dangerous