Lititz crime down seven percent

By on January 31, 2018

Annual police report delivered to borough council Tuesday night

Lititz Borough Police Department is one of three municipalities in Lancaster County to be accredited by the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

At the Jan. 30 Lititz Borough Council meeting, council members were updated on the police department by Patrol Sergeant Jared Hahn, who also reported that of the 1,100 police departments in Pennsylvania, only 117 of them are accredited. Lititz Borough is one of them.

There was other good news for the borough police in Hahn’s annual police report. The clearance rate (case closed) for serious crimes was 72 percent, compared to 39 percent in Lancaster County and 32 percent in Pennsylvania. For less serious crimes, the clearance rate in Lititz was 86 percent, compared to 72 percent in Lancaster County and 59 percent in the state.

“In 2017, overall crime in Lititz Borough was down by seven percent over the last two years,” reported Hahn.

Serious crimes, which totaled 63 incidents last year, included one rape, 16 assaults, six burglaries, 39 larcenies/thefts and one auto theft. Less serious crimes totaled 201 incidents, and included forgery, counterfeiting, fraud, vandalism, weapon offenses, driving under the influence, public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

A snapshot of the police department in 2017 listed 7,819 dispatches for the Lititz Borough Police Department. There were 3,064 police reports generated and 264 total criminal events, and 180 people charged with a crime.

In 2017, there were 177 vehicle accidents reported in the borough. Sadly, three of them were fatalities.

“We do not ordinarily have any fatal accidents in the borough, because of the type of roads and speed limits,” said Hahn. “So this was an unfortunate anomaly.”

In January 2017, a man was killed on Owl Hill Road when his car hit a telephone pole and tree. A few weeks later, an older man died after he suffered a cardiac emergency and then hit a parked vehicle on South Broad Street. The third fatality occurred in April, when a man was pumping gas at Turkey Hill and his car rolled over him.

Hahn reported that there were 670 traffic citations issued and 915 parking tickets. There were also 58 DUIs in the borough.

The opioid crisis continued to be a serious issue in Lititz, as it is across the United States. Hahn reported that five people who had overdosed on drugs were revived by police using Narcan.

“That is five people who have a second chance at life,” he said, noting that police are equipped with the lifesaving medication.

Public outreach has been a major part of the Lititz Borough Police Department’s efforts in the community. The police department has a school resource officer (SRO) in the Warwick School District to work with students. The police are also involved in a number of community events and activities.

“Social media has been a great tool for the police, in informing people and keeping in touch,” said Hahn.

He noted that the police department’s Facebook page has had a 94 percent increase in followers, up to 7,692 followers. While most are local, there are followers from all over the United States.

“People seem to really enjoy our posts,” said Hahn. “We have received a lot of positive feedback. It is a good exchange of ideas and information.”

Many of the posts have been witty and clever, such as the September 2017 posts relating to the discovery of red balloons tied to stormwater grates in the borough, which turned out to be a publicity stunt connected to the Steven King horror movie “IT.” The Facebook posts are written by several different officers with a tongue-in-cheek approach that appeals to the growing number of followers.

Borough council thanked the police department for its service in the community and the good relationship they have fostered as an active partner in the community.

In other business, two members of Pennsylvania’s Fair Districts program were disappointed that Lititz Borough Council did not agree to sign a resolution meant to end gerrymandering or unfair voting district maps.

Brenda Barnes and Anne Wallace-DiGarbo were told that while the borough supported their efforts, it was their policy to not get involved in anything of a political nature.

“Our signing a resolution will not do anything to support this,” said council member Andrew Greiner. “Any commission would be biased.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that Pennsylvania’s current congressional district boundaries are unconstitutional. Redrawing the district maps could have far-reaching political implications in the state. A commission made up of citizens not in public office would redraw the maps, intended to make elections more fair.

Lititz Borough Council approved a preliminary and final land development plan for Johnson & Johnson, which involves separating the Listerine and other wastewater processing systems. They also granted Oak Tree Development a 90-day extension to file the final plan on the former Wilbur Chocolate factory project. Demolition of certain parts of the structure have been approved and are likely to begin in February or March.

Approval was granted for four community events, including the March 31 Sauder Egg Run, marking its 26th year; the Pretzel Fest on May 5; the Lititz Walk for Wounded Warriors on May 12; and the Aug. 5 Lititz recCenter fourth annual triathlon.

Laura Knowles is a freelance reporter who covers the Lititz Borough municipal beat for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *