Unified Erie says that murderers and shootings are falling year after year. Now, they want to make sure that trend continues.
Unified Erie says one of the reasons for the decline is because agencies are using multiple approaches to address the root causes of crime. The report states that shots fired and homicides in the city of Erie are on a downward trend, falling from 11 murders in 2014 to just seven last year.
Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny says the initiative is working because of partnerships. “People see the positive that’s being done. It’s not just something that you can just stop. It’s something that we’ve got to continue.”
And that’s why leaders say Unified Erie is so important. It relies on prevention, enforcement and re-entry services to deter people from a path of crime.
Director of Mercyhurst University’s Civic Institute, Amy Eisert, says, “…what cannot be prevented–because not everything can be prevented–has to be enforced; and then, those individuals that leave the community the community 90 to 95 percent will return to the community.”
And, if those individuals are not connected to resources, Eisert says more than half of them will return. It was a risk that Tyshun Taylor faced after serving an 11-year sentence for selling cocaine. He tells us, “It was hard to even find an apartment. It was hard finding employment. It was extremely hard finding employment.”
Since being released in 2012, he’s gone on to become a client advocate for the Erie County Re-Entry Services and Support Alliance. The agency provides transportation, clothing, job help, and someone who understands.
Tyshun says, “…for someone to have a hand, a familiar face, somebody they respect to know that it’s going to be official with them. I’m not going to bull them around or anything like that; it’s a dream come true for me.”
As dreams come true and as goals are reached, Unified Erie says the data that they’re collecting will help them identify the best strategies for combating crime. They say they will continue to meet and see how to take this information and continue to improve communities throughout Erie.