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York City Police seeing decrease in shootings after cracking down on motor vehicle thefts

YORK, Pa. -- York city police have cracked down on motor vehicle thefts. Now they're seeing a decrease in another crime.

Police have seen a decrease in shootings, since they've cracked down on motor vehicles thefts. The chief said this was a huge effort by not only his department, but by the community too.

"Don't leave your cars running unattended," is a warning police everywhere are used to giving during the winter months. For York City Police, they've gone through great lengths in years past to make sure that message gets out; even putting out public service announcements.

"It hasn't worked the last couple of years so this year what we did was we started to enforce a citation that you're not allowed by the vehicle code to start your car, and keep your car running," Troy Bankert, York City Police Chief, said. "Hoping that would be a motivator for residents to do so."

It helped a little. But once winter ended -

"We saw an increase however which is unusual, in the summer time. Around the beginning of July, we started seeing an increase in stolen vehicles. A large increase. Another spike," Chief Bankert said.

They believed it was kids stealing the vehicles.

"So what we believed to be occurring was somebody, who we believe to be juveniles, was going down the street, checking the car door to see if it was open. If it was open, they'd check inside. If there was something to be stolen, they stole it. While in that car, they would find the valet key, because people were keeping their keys in the car or a key to another car that they had owned."

So in July, they deployed a lot of resources to combat the problem. They distributed flyers, they increased patrolling, and increased the number of arrests.

"I'v got grandkids, I've got my kids, and it's nice weather. We want the kids to play outside, to run. And you want to feel safe, and have a place that your kids feel safe, so I'm glad York City Police is doing something," Jacqueline Santiago, who lives in York, said.

Three weeks later, there was a 50% decrease in stolen vehicles, a 33% reduction in thefts from vehicles, and the curveball; a 25% reduction in shootings.

"How that actually correlates with each other, we're not really sure, although we know that the numbers tend to go up and down together," Chief Bankert said.

Even though we are out of the winter months, police have not stopped giving out citations to those who leave their car running unattended. As for keeping the amount of thefts down moving forward, they advise residents keep their car doors locked at all times.