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Johnstown Leaders Combat Violence

With 3 homicides in 4 days in Johnstown the City’s Council is joining law enforcement to say plans are already in the works to try and combat the trend.

But as Crispin Havener explains, there was agreement that it takes a village to solve a crime problem.

Johnstown’s Police Chief saying today efforts are already underway to make his department more proactive on the streets, and that the city council is vowing to help as much as they can…but the issues they say goes beyond just law enforcement.

It’s a trying time for the friendly city already doubling the number of homicides compared to all of last year.

“It’s a shame out there what’s going on. People killing people like their flies. No respect for life anymore.”

“There used to be a day and time where you knew who your neighbor was. And if you did something by the time you got home your mother knew about it.”

At a press briefing Wednesday, following three homicides in a 92 hour span, Johnstown leadership looking to reassure a wary public.

“This violence has to stop now.”

Police Chief Richard Pritchard says steps are being made to have more of a street presence.

“We’re going to start street level, K9’s targeted areas for walking dogs at night, surveillance, things of that nature.”

And city council agrees to work to fund what the department asks for but

“We can’t do this without the citizens coming forward. Police can’t be everywhere”

It’s why city leadership is imploring their community to speak up and take action.

“You can make a difference. Each individual can make a difference in helping the situation.”

Much of the discussion focused on ensuring the police department is suitably funded amid growing national trends of increased crime and an inability to recruit officers.

“I also want to caution the council that these men are being taxed. They are very short staff.”

Along with personal responsibility…

“Some of these things are beyond the police.”

Council members say they’re active in their neighborhoods and are looking to spend their federal covid money to help revitalize main street and other pillars of the community to help positively grow Johnstown after several decades of decline.

When I asked council near the end about changing the negative perceptions of the city such as this, that might limit that growth and their efforts…they largely turned the question back on me.

“People gravitate towards that, and then they start spewing incorrect information attacking people and that’s not alleviating the problem.”

“And Crispin, let me dovetail on that, why don’t you gravitate to the positive things we’re trying to do rather than gravitate toward the negative stuff all the time? ‘

Mayor: Truthfully, most of the time I see the networks here when something’s wrong.

As discussions continue about how to turn around the recent wrongs and make the friendly city live up to its words again.

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