CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee met on Monday in Cambria County to hear input from local law enforcement on increasing crime rates in the area.
This followed the announcement that statewide hearings on crime and public safety would be held in the coming months.
“As data shows, crime has been on the rise in Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Mario Scavello (R-40). “We want to better understand why.”
At the hearing, state senators asked what they can do to help their communities.
“I value these types of meetings,” said Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-35). “Whether it be here in a formal setting, or even in an informal setting where we can really talk to the people that are dealing with day-to-day on how we can address this.”
Law enforcement officers were on hand to describe the situations they see on a regular basis.
“We have had twice as many homicides this year in the City of Johnstown as we did last year,” Chief of Police Richard Pritchard said. “I don’t know what to attribute that to. We see a large influx of transients coming here.”
Pritchard noted the crime in Johnstown compares to many large cities.
“I can say that the problems that I faced as a lieutenant in East Liberty and Homewood in the City of Pittsburgh are not much different than what I’m seeing here in Johnstown,” Pritchard said.
Sergeant Cory Adams said a large problem facing the police department is a lack of officers.
“We just don’t have the boots on the ground to tackle it head-on. All we are is reactive right now,” Adams said. “The couple chances we get to be proactive with these task forces, we take the opportunity, but we just need more manpower.”
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The hearings will continue in Lancaster County.