Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to aid Wilkes-Barre in its fight against increased crime in the city. In a letter to the new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, Casey urged DOJ to examine current capabilities and consider whether more resources could be redirected to Wilkes-Barre. Over a six-day period in April, seven people were shot in Wilkes-Barre in apparently unrelated incidents.
“The crime situation is Wilkes-Barre is deeply concerning,” Senator Casey said. “I’m urging the Department of Justice to carefully examine its current capabilities and consider directing additional resources to the city’s law enforcement. As we move forward with the appropriations process this year it’s critical that our law enforcement programs be adequately funded. We can’t continue to ask our law enforcement professionals to do more with less.”
Senator Casey has been a leader in the Senate in pushing for robust funding for the COPS program and Byrne/JAG grants that aid law enforcement.
The full text of Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Ms. Attorney General,
I write to request additional Department of Justice support for the city of Wilkes-Barre, which has been experiencing a rash of gun violence. Please direct any available Department resources to supplement existing local and state responses to bring an end to this frightening situation.
Over a six-day period in April, seven people were shot in Wilkes-Barre in apparently unrelated incidents. Wilkes-Barre has struggled with violent crime previously, and in 2013 experienced the deadliest year in its history, with 12 murders. Not only do they threaten the safety and security of Wilkes-Barre residents, but high violent crime rates have a significant impact on economic stability, potential for growth and overall quality of life in Wilkes-Barre.
While state and local law enforcement are taking appropriate steps and doing everything they can to respond to the recent increase in crime, they are subject to limited resources. Particularly given the historic link between violent crime and drug activity in Wilkes-Barre, the resources and expertise of federal law enforcement may well be critical to addressing this issue.
As local and state police work to address the recent gun violence in the city, I request that the Department identify ways to further support the law enforcement efforts in Wilkes-Barre. I look forward to any opportunity to work with you on this very serious issue. If there is any way that I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me, or have the appropriate staff person contact my office. I appreciate your attention to my concerns.
Robert P. Casey
United States Senator