Harrisburg Mayor says safe zones reducing crime

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Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson said her neighborhood safe zone initiative is having an effect on crime, saying in recent months there has been a 0.8 percent reduction in both violent and nonviolent incidents.

The most recent iteration of this initiative recently wrapped up in the area of 15th and Market streets. Two men were killed near that intersection in April.

“Particularly, 0.8 percent in recent months in these targeted areas. And, this 0.8 percent reduction in these violent crimes are the result of the institution of these neighborhood safe zones,” said Thompson.

At the same time, the city saw it’s ninth homicide Monday night near N. 4th and Muench streets. Police say David Nightengale, 27, was shot and later died at the hospital. The group Heeding God’s Call held a vigil for him Thursday.

In 2012, there were 12 homicides in the Capital City.

During this latest neighborhood safe zone initiative, Mayor Thompson says 26 traffic citations were issued; drugs “encountered” included cocaine, heroin and pot; police recovered a gun and issued six drug paraphernalia possession charges. Police also charged one person with carrying firearm without a license.

Thompson said the next safe zone would begin Thursday, though the location is not being announced ahead of time.

In addition, members of Dauphin County’s Crisis Response Team will patrol alongside Harrisburg police this weekend. They tried a similar effort beginning last August in the midst of a summer crime wave. Police Chief Pierre Ritter said the initiative had a noticeable effect on crime. Funds for the extra patrols come from the District Attorney’s office, which receives those funds from table game proceeds at Hollywood Casino.


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