Robberies underreported in Harrisburg?

Crime statistics may be public record, but many in Harrisburg are unaware of a recent crime trend, according to the city's police blotter.

Safety and feeling safe is arguably a frame of mind, but neighbors explain that feeling is based on what's happening around their neighborhood. Walter Goins, who has spent years living in Allison Hill, said he has noticed a change.

“I be over here at the mini market and a couple of times a couple of people come running in there saying, I got mugged,” he said. “It's just sad.”

Goins described other recent events involving robberies in the area, so abc27 looked at the crime blotter on the city's official website. Since mid-July, there have been more than 30 robberies reported on the blotter. More than half have involved descriptions such as “inflict threat…bodily injury” or “force.”

abc27's Dave Marcheskie printed out the list of robberies and showed it to several neighbors where the crimes were prevalent. Michelle Ortega was walking with her three children along Derry Street where three robberies took place. She took one look at the list and said, “Wow!”

Ortega said she walks all over the city with her kids and often has concerns.

“I'm thinking going to the store something's going to happen,” she said.

Goins was handed the list and had a similar reaction.

“Just looking at the list … it's awful. It's real bad, it's really unsafe,” he said.

Kristen Sylvia moved from New York and hoped Harrisburg would be a safe place to live. Since moving to the city this summer, she said she's heard several stories of armed robberies. She admitted she thought neighbors were being “dramatic,” but one look at the crime blotter changed her mind.

“(I'm) not feeling safe,” she said. “Scared to walk around.”

Police did not send media alerts about the robberies nor address them during a safety briefing on Tuesday. Several attempts to contact police Wednesday were not readily returned when this article was posted.

There is no information on whether anyone was injured. There is no information on whether police believe the robberies are connected, or if police have certain suspects tied to any of the robberies in certain neighborhoods.

Ortega said she does not need a police warning. Rather, one look at the list has already informed her to be on the lookout.

“All we can do is we have to be careful outside on the street,” she said.


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