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.

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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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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/

Philadelphia Teen Shot In Nanticoke

A shooting in Nanticoke left an 18-year-old male injured Sunday afternoon, police said.

Mark Brown-Mathis of Philadelphia was found walking down an alleyway between Orchard and West Broad Streets by two residents around 1:30 p.m., police said.

Brown-Mathis allegedly told the residents not to call police prior to them reporting the incident to 911.

When police arrived on scene they discovered Brown-Mathis had a gunshot wound to his right upper arm, according to the Nanticoke police department.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/philadelphia-teen-shot-in-nanticoke-1.1858841

Violence Continues With Another Shooting In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, PA — City police said a man was found with a gunshot wound in the area of 247 S. Welles St. just before 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Police did not say where the man, whose name was not released, suffered the gunshot wound. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment, police said.

No further information was released.

The victim is the seventh person to be shot in the city within five days. Two of those shootings turned fatal.

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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.

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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.

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Philadelphia’s Murder Rate At Historic Low: A Look At Why

When Philadelphia’s murder total fell to a historic low in 2013, officials believed it was no fluke.

Now, with 2014 at the same rate – and other violence also down – experts say the city is indeed getting safer.

With 248 slain, the toll is one above last year’s – and a 25 percent drop from 2012. But statistics show police in 2014 solved fewer killings than in 2013.

Overall, violent crime fell 7 percent.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150103_Phila__s_murder_rate_drops__A_look_at_why.html#zmVkOtUqefw3dcCO.99

Barrett Questions Security Measures After Latest Sherman Hills Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The shootings of two men Tuesday night at the Sherman Hills apartment complex raised questions for the chairman of city council about security measures to be undertaken by the new owner.

Bill Barrett on Wednesday said he would contact the owners for an update on how their plans compared to those of the previous owner that promised “large-scale improvements” worth $100,000 after a federal report found lax oversight exposed tenants to life-threatening security issues at the 344-unit complex.

The shootings happened less than a week after a city official said the owners were not planning on having “24-7” security at the complex that’s been the scene of violent crimes and a fatal shooting last November.

Police said two black men in their 20s were shot during an attempted robbery. The men were found in building 328 at approximately 11:30 p.m., police said.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/1534466/Barrett-questions-security-measures-at-Sherman-Hills

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Another shooting at Sherman Hills occurred on Wednesday night



Pottstown Residents Speak Up About Recent Violent Crimes

POTTSTOWN, PA — Even before Steven Mitchell was found dead in his car on Jefferson Avenue Thursday night, borough residents were beginning to express concerns about the mini crime wave that has hit Pottstown.

“Pottstown is becoming another Chester, PA,” North Hanover Street resident Dianne Krumm told borough council at its Wednesday night work session.

Since May 30, Pottstown has seen shooting incidents near Brian’s Cafe, a car wash at Wilson and Spruce streets and a man shot in the elbow on Lincoln Avenue, not to mention the attempted robbery of the Wells-Fargo Bank on East High Street.

“I was laying in my bed and I swear I could hear the bullets,” Krumm said. “I want something done about crime.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140607/pottstown-residents-speak-up-about-recent-violent-crimes

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Philadelphia Has 4 Homicides In 12-Hour Span Sunday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antonio Flores, 17, was the fourth person killed in a 12-hour period in Philadelphia on Sunday, police say.

And detectives are still searching for the 23-year-old who they believe is behind Flores’ shooting death inside a friend’s apartment in Spring Garden.

Flores was hanging out with friends on the 1600 block of Wallace Street around 3:25 Sunday afternoon when at some point, one of those friends pulled out a gun and fired once, homicide Capt. James Clark said.

Flores was hit in the head, and the friends in the apartment scattered, Clark said. One stayed behind and called police as Flores lay bleeding on the floor. He was pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital about 20 minutes later.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20140401_Phildelphia_has_4_homicides_in_12-hour_span_Sunday.html#a7JLE47vWX81U3AT.99

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1 Killed, 4 Wounded In Homewood Bar Shooting

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One person was shot to death and four others wounded inside a Homewood bar early Saturday, city police said.

When police and medics arrived at the Rendezvous Phase III bar, in the 7200 block of Hamilton Ave., about 1:20 a.m., bar patrons were fleeing the scene, according to a statement from police.

Police found Vincent Edward Holt Jr., 27, of Homewood dead inside the bar.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5685313-74/bar-shooting-examiner#ixzz2ulk0I0G5
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Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Hazleton Police Chief Hail Success

HAZLETON, PA — Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Police Chief Frank DeAndrea pointed to the successes of Kane’s Mobile Street Crime Unit on Wednesday and asked residents of Hazleton and across the commonwealth to help the success continue.

At the urging of state Sen. John Yudichak to address violent drug-related crime plaguing Northeastern Pennsylvania, Kane organized the Region X Intensive Mobile Proactive Anti-Crime Team — IMPACT — task force and deployed it to Hazleton in September to dismantle gang-run drug trafficking networks.

The approximately 20-member team, composed of federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement officers, racked up more than 120 arrests and seized about 35,000 packets of heroin, quantities of crack cocaine, numerous vehicles, handguns, rifles, an assault weapon and thousands of dollars in cash, with many of the items on display at a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday.

Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, noted that a 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Justice detailed the foothold that drug-trafficking organizations had established in the Hazleton area and that branched off throughout Luzerne and surrounding counties.

Read more:  http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1206626/Kane-Hazleton-chief-hail-success

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Human Services Chief: Bulk Of Westmoreland County’s Violent Crime Linked To Addictions

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly all violent crime in Westmoreland County is drug-related, and it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, according to the county’s human services director.

The national epidemic of drug abuse should be treated as a public health issue rather than a crime problem, Dr. Dirk Matson said this week at a Central Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

In 12 years, the death rate from drug overdoses has nearly quadrupled, Matson said.

“The community needs to own the problem,” he said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/5590452-74/county-drug-matson#ixzz2tPcdTYT4
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Task Force Wants To See Plan For Sherman Hills

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE. PA — Sherman Hills Realty LLC submitted a 150-page improvement plan that has not yet been publicly released to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright’s office said Thursday.

Cartwright’s office, like The Times Leader, requested an expedited copy of the plan to address problems at the sprawling housing project through the Freedom of Information Act.

Sherman Hills Realty submitted its plan on Monday in response to a Managerial and Operational Review that classified its management and operations of the troubled Sherman Hills Apartment Complex as “unsatisfactory.” HUD provides rental assistance to 340 households at Sherman Hills, which has been the scene of many violent crimes and incidents involving drugs in recent years.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1033228/Task-force-wants-to-see-plan-for-Sherman-Hills

HUD: Sherman Hills Issues Life-Threatening

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Sherman Hills tenants are experiencing life-threatening security issues that include inoperable surveillance cameras, broken windows and more than half of exterior lights not turned on or broken, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report said.

The report, made public Thursday, follows a two-day HUD inspection in September of six of the eight “garden style buildings” within the complex, including Building 328, where two girls suffered gunshot wounds in August.

The sprawling 344-unit apartment complex off Coal Street has been plagued by violent crime in recent years, including the shooting of the two girls and a fatal shooting of a woman on Nov. 11.

Read more: http://timesleader.com/news/local-news/1001665/HUD:-Sherman-Hills-issues-life-threatening

New Rules Put In Place At Sherman Hills?

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA— New security measures are reportedly set to go into place at the Sherman Hills where two young girls were shot in the latest case of violent crime at the apartment complex.

An e-mail outlining some of the rules to go into effect on Oct. 1 was sent to The Times Leader Wednesday, but they were not able to be confirmed.

According to the e-mail, among the steps to be taken are: tenants must provide a driver’s license and paperwork to receive a parking sticker; vehicles must be registered to tenants; visitors must receive a pass issued by the office in order to park in the visitors’ lot; visitors must present photo identification to obtain a pass; businesses delivering groceries, food or prescriptions must have two people in the delivery vehicle so one can stay in it to prevent it from being towed.

Residents say they received flyers on their doors informing them of their new rules, TV reports state.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news//809848/New-rules-put-in-place-at-Sherman-Hills

Sherman Hills Under Scrutiny

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE — It’s a familiar story.

A violent crime rocks Sherman Hills. Residents and community leaders ask what can be done to crack down on lawlessness at the privately owned apartment complex off Coal Street.

That is the scenario once again this week, following a Saturday shooting that left two girls, ages 5 and 2, injured.  This time, city officials held talks with complex management.

What safety measures will be taken following the incident, and the talks?  What can be done? What will be done? Those closest to the situation aren’t saying.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/789490/Sherman-Hills-under-scrutiny

Wilkes-Barre Lists 51 Rental Properties Cited By Code Enforcement

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE — A day after council took the first step to approve an amendment toughening the city’s rental ordinance, the code enforcement office listed more than 5o citations to property owners over a four-month period.

More than half of the 51 properties have out-of-town owners, a point stressed by Mayor Tom Leighton when he proposed the amendment to crack down on problem properties contributing to the rise in violent crime.

City spokeswoman Liza Prokop said the timing of the release of the list was unrelated to the pending amendment.

In an e-mail Wednesday she said, “It is standard practice for the city to release information on code violations.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/754179/City-lists-51-rental-properties-cited-by-code-enforcement

Homicides On Track For 45-Year Low In Philadelphia

Homicides in Philadelphia in 2013 are on pace for the lowest midyear total in nearly half a century, police figures show, putting the city in reach of a modern-day low at year’s end.

As of Friday, with three days left in the six-month period, police had recorded 115 homicides, a 38 percent drop from the same period last year.

The half-year figures are a promising sign for a city that in recent years has held the dubious distinction of being the nation’s most violent big city.

Mayor Nutter, top police officials, and prosecutors, along with criminal-justice experts, say the decrease in homicides reflects a new emphasis on data-driven policing, a crackdown on gun criminals, and sweeping reforms in the criminal courts.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130630_Homicides_on_track_for_45-year_low_in_Philadelphia.html#WveCycR2JxYQ9MoR.99