JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WTAJ) — State Representative Frank Burns is urging Johnstown city leaders to use federal American Rescue Plan money to hire more police officers.

Burns says enhanced police protection should be a top priority after receiving numerous concerns from residents. He also claims that statistics show a person in Johnstown has a 1 in 62 chance of being a victim of violent crime. That’s compared to a 1 in a 261 chance in all of Pennsylvania.

In a statement, Burns added many residents he spoke to are aware that 8 people have been shot and killed in Johnstown so far in 2022.

“We have to be realistic. All the positive thinking and optimism doled out by civic leaders isn’t going to stop criminals,” Burns said. “We need boots on the ground. That needs to be priority number one.”

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The state representative also said that violent crime will only surge this summer unless action is taken.