Cutting down on crime with new anti-crime initiative

File photo - Whitehall Police

“Whitehall is markedly safer than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago,” says Bob Masheter, President of Dick Masheter Ford. The car dealership credits a strong police partnership for keeping the area around his business along South Hamilton Road safer for customers.

“Any time we’ve needed them, their response has been phenomenal,” Masheter says. “Whether it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon or 2 a.m.”

Whitehall Police are starting a new campaign for a “Safer Whitehall.” It involves businesses taking part in a new initiative to send a message to thieves: you’re not welcome here.

“AT some point, you’re going to start seeing our businesses windows saying, ‘Safer Whitehall’,” explains Whitehall Police Chief Mike Crispen. “What that means is these folks at these retail establishments have been through this training, and they’ve committed to prosecute.”

The training involves safety messages such as visible signage, but also more cameras, surveillance and better lighting.

Chief Crispen says thefts are fueled by drugs which fuels the violent crime in Whitehall. But this year, Chief Crispen says officers laser focused their attention on the theft issue making a 64% increase in theft arrests.

“For the first time since 2011, our violent crime was down 36 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since 2011,” Crispen explains. “Our robberies and burglaries have reached 20-year lows. That’s the direct result of the efforts of the department focused specifically on theft.”

  • Whitehall’s 5-year average for violent crime is 180. In 2017, the city recorded 147.
  • Whitehall’s 5-year average for robberies is 105. In 2017, the city recorded 83. A record low of 68 robberies was recorded in 1998.
  • Whitehall’s 5-year average for burglary and B&E is 341. In 2017, the city recorded 199. It’s the lowest number on record for the City of Whitehall and the first time the city has dipped below 200.

Whitehall police also seized $1.7 million in illegal drugs in 2017.

Click here to sign up for the Safer Whitehall Initiative.

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