ALTOONA, Pa — (WTAJ) With violent crime rising in cities nationwide, President Biden outlined his administration’s plan to combat gun violence this week.
”With the country opening back up again, the traditional summer spike may be more pronounced than it usually would be,” President Biden said.
In the first quarter of this year, homicide rates in 34 US cities were up 24% from last year, and up 49% from 2019. Calling it unacceptable, the president says the administration will crack down on gun dealers breaking the law.
”We’ll make sure you can’t sell death and mayhem in our streets,” President Biden said.
However, locally it seems we are the exception to the rule.
“So there’s no increase or decrease they stayed the same,” Richard Pritchard, Johnstown Police Chief said.
Chief Pritchard explained there are only two exceptions, last year they had more robberies than this year, but they had more rapes this year than last year. And the department is looking at a way of bringing the numbers down even further.
“We’re looking at a new field training program that actually focuses on problem-solving so that the officers will be better equipped to solve problems in areas what are the crime are higher,” Chief Pritchard said.
And while the crime statistics are not out yet for 2021 in Altoona, police said the numbers there are also similar to last year so far.
“Comparing this year, year to date two 2020 things seem to be about the same as far as violent crime,” Altoona Police Sergeant Matt Plummer said.
The one major area that is different last year in 2020 there were four homicides in Altoona this year there have not been any. However, violent crimes by juveniles are on the rise.
“We’ve had numerous reports of theft of firearms from unlocked parked vehicles and it just doesn’t make any sense and these are some of the firearms that are getting out there on the streets into juveniles hands.” Plummer said.
We also discovered Johnstown Police are looking to hire six more police officers and they will be on the streets in 14 weeks.
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