The Erie Police Department is seeing what they’re calling “a continuation of last year’s increasing number of shootings in the city.”
“We are trending towards probably overcoming last year’s numbers of shots fired and people shot,” said Rick Lorah, Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigation. “So, obviously that’s a troubling stat for us, although, like I said, we are trending down.”
Lorah said last year there were 245 shootings. This year, there have been 201 so far. Lorah added there were eight homicides last year. This year? Five.
He is seeing more crimes committed by people under 18 years and into their early 20’s. However, there has been a decrease in aggravated assault, robberies, and people getting shot this year. But, that could change.
Lorah recalls in 2014, there was a large outbreak of gang violence, but that decreased over the years because of task force programs like Unified Erie.
“There has been a recent spike of violence in the city that has been troubling to us,” Deputy Chief Lorah said. “Obviously, we’re going to allocate assets to those areas where we see those increases.”
Unified Erie’s call-in program hasn’t been in effect for the past year because of the pandemic. But community liaison Michael Outlaw believes that could make a difference once it’s restarted.
“Unified Erie is a three long approach,” said Outlaw. “It is prevention, reentry and then reinforcement. The call-in falls under the prevention program, so we’re going to get some of these individuals a choice to receive the services and the support that the program offers. And, if not, the law enforcement is going to enforce on these individuals.”
Lorah said they will stay on top of the numbers and look for possible trends.
“We try to keep updated. We try to keep our training updated, and we try to look into other cities on what they’re doing to combat crime.”
Lorah said they’re going to restart the call-in program sometime next month.
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