Police continue to try to make an impact on violence in Central PA as so far a dangerous year in Harrisburg with five homicides already.
Monday night, Harrisburg Police have their first Safe Zone Initiative in place.
The question is whether the increased police presence make citizens feel safer?
CBS 21 has been asking that question to residents living in the area of 19th and Bellevue Streets in the Allison Hill section of Harrisburg.
It is a frustrating and deadly problem, and answers are hard to find.
With five murders so far this year in the city, at this pace the city will have 26 killed by year’s end.
Mayor Linda Thompson began the Safe Zone Initiative last year on Curtin Street.
19th and Bellevue is just one of the recent problem spots, including several recent shootings. According to the Mayor, this is only the first location for the program and other troubled areas of the city will soon get the same treatment.
How do residents feel about being in a 'Neighborhood Safety Zone?'
“Well yes the kids are out playing and it's a lot safer right now,” stated mother and grandmother Linda Dickey, who had a huge smile on her face.
Everyone we talked to welcomed the Neighborhood Safety Zone
“It will be safer for me to walk the streets,” added another person.
“There is a lot of crime going on around here,” echoed another.
“I'm glad that they are out here,” agreed one resident.
“They need to stay out here, stay out on the streets,” commented another person.
“I welcome 'em, welcome the to the neighborhood,” one person addressed. “The kids will be ale to play and not worry about all the gunshots.”
“They are a little late they should have been out here, people have been dying for so long,” Zachary Jackson told us. He has seen friends and family killed by gun violence.
For Zachary he has felt the personal impact of the violence, he was friends with both Courtney Jackson and Robert Burris, the cities two most recent murder victims.
The Streets Crime Unit is out on the streets, doing what needs to be done to deter street crime on Chestnut and Bellevue Streets. But it is not just crime, it’s the whole quality of life.
Tuesday the Public Works Department will be out issuing citations as necessary to try to deal with some of the trash.
“It's up to the community to get together, encourage the young people that shooting and killing is not the way,” believes Raymond Seay.
Even with help from the police, Raymond thinks crime will still go up.
“Spring is around the corner and crime is going to increase, let's face it, it's going to be an increase in crime,” Seay cautioned.
Zachary Jackson has not only recently lost two friends, but also lost his brother to gun violence two years ago.
“It hurts, it's like, what is there to hope for,” Jackson admitted. “But at the same time you've got to hope for something, got to want for things to get better, because if not, it going to stay the same you've got to at least try.”
A very courageous young man to speak with us.
While the police are not asking for any kind of ID from residents or visitors to go on either of these streets, it is clear for the small area that while the police are there, it will deter crime.
The question is how long with the positive impact lasts after the police move to their next location in the city.