Two of the most dangerous cities in the country are right here in Central Pennsylvania. But city administrators say they have a plan to fight that distinction.
The numbers are alarming for the city of Harrisburg. A total of 727 violent crimes that includes murders, rapes, robberies and assaults in 2013. The statistic places the city at number 25 out of 100 on a list of most dangerous cities in America.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse says, “Historically there has been a division between the police and community. We need to have clear direction for our police department and we need more officers.”
Mayor Papenfuse understands “Neighborhood Scouts” research. According to the real estate resource, 11 murders and 56 rapes have been committed in the Capital City. And the new administration has a plan for change.
Papenfuse says, “We just brought in a tremendous crop of 8 new officers, 11 of whom are vets that bring great skills to this job and looking to hire 12 more officers.”
Firehouse restaurant sits in the heart of Harrisburg. Special Events Manager, Josue Osorto also lives in the city. He says he feels safe here.
Josue says, “I feel there’s a lot of people that want to make the city what it’s supposed to be and that’s something what every other city has. Something hip and especially young professionals trying to do that.”
But Tracy McMurray and her co-workers say working in the city makes them nervous. She says, “If I have to leave the building I stay with my co-workers , we stay together.”
Which is why the mayor and his administration are working to make security more visible.
Papenfuse says, “We believe in a model of community policing which has officers out walking beats and making relationships with people that they’re policing.”
In addition to Harrisburg, York is the 33rd most dangerous city. This includes 587 violent crimes like 11 murders and 44 rapes. Chester is the most dangerous city in the Keystone State at number 8. East St. Louis, Illinois is ranked number 1.