Lycoming County exploring options to curb crime as pandemic continues


WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Law enforcement in Lycoming County is concerned crime is on the rise as we continue to deal with the coronavirus. Now, multiple solutions are on the table to help make a difference.

Lycoming County has been in the “yellow phase” of reopening for more than a week now.

“People have been responsible. Again, the cases in our area are low compared to other areas and that’s because of people’s behaviors and they’re getting used to wearing a mask,” said Lycoming County Commissioner Scott Metzger.

But, not everyone has been responsible and it’s causing concern as the county continues to slowly reopen.

“We just want this crime to cease and we want this COVID-19 to cease,” said Elaine Thomas of Williamsport.

Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan Gardner tells Eyewitness News his office is investigating a handful of crimes. Several have taken place since the pandemic first hit, starting off with a homicide in the beginning of April.

“There’s been a number of shootings in addition to that homicide,” said Gardner.

It’s in part why the DA’s office has decided to bring a new intel officer on board.

“The importance of this position became very relevant having some, I don’t want to say downtime, but opportunity to speak with many people including state police, PSP vice, crime, Williamsport Bureau of Police et cetera and wrap our hands around all of these cases,” said Ryan Gardner.

And the DA’s office is in the process of funding new cameras to place around the city.

“The way these operations are run anymore with tracking cellphones, cellular data et cetera. We may only get a glimpse of a car. Well, we want clarity when we get that glimpse. And with the evolution of cameras and lenses et cetera, now seems to be the right time,” said Gardner.

“I think they could help and probably do help,” said Calvin Campbell of Williamsport.

“I think that’s good. I think that’s good. I think that’ll take away some of the crime from the people if they know they’re being watched you know if you know you’re being watched you aren’t going to do anything,” said Kevin Thomas.

The district attorney’s office says they are now in the process of finding specific locations around the city to place the cameras.

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