Carlisle Police’s community officers are Officers Hanner (email@example.com) and Mulholhan (firstname.lastname@example.org). The best way to contact the officers with questions or concerns is over email due to their irregular schedules.
Today’s meeting was led by Officers Hanner and VonVolkenburg.
May 21 Vandalism:
A copy of the borough’s curfew ordinance is available on the Borough’s website. Children under the age of 15 are not allowed out after 10 PM and under 18 should not be out after 11 PM, unless they are accompanied by a parent or are working. The police are already picking up kids for curfew violations. It is also illegal to be in the public parks
Traditionally the spring sees an increase in crimes such as car break-ins, graffiti, and curfew violations, all of which usually decline once the weather gets really hot.
Officer Rucinsky is working the Butcher Family Tot Log graffiti case. They have 3 suspects who they believe stole the spray paint from Walmart before vandalizing. They have a witness and are hoping to get Walmart surveillance footage. The police require probable cause to bring charges; they are trying to gather enough evidence to charge them with criminal mischief. The youths will probably either get fined or will be given community service. Residents whose personal property was damaged and the Borough are the victims in this case, but SoSo may be allowed to help write the impact statement if the Borough is willing. The police usually prefer the perpetrators get community service because guardians often pay (or can’t afford to pay) the fine, and the youth don’t learn anything.
Anyone who has has personal property that was damaged should save any receipts for the cost of repairs so they can apply for restitution. The police are planning to interview the parents and the children prior to making an arrest. It helps to provide a glimpse into their home life since, once charges are filed and the youths are sent to juvenile probation, the police no longer get updates. In Cumberland County the police are not subpoenaed to juvenile cases as a cost saving measure.
There was a question about whether the police could provide a point person to provide follow-up for incidents that occurs in the public parks. The police said that since the Borough is the victim, they are the ones who usually get the information on what happened. However, the Crime Watch website posts all arrests that are made, but not summons, such as traffic tickets.
Child abuse or neglect should be reported to Children and Youth and criminal activity should be reported to the police. Adults can be charged with child endangerment for not property supervising their children and they are charged with curfew violations
The youths who have been causing disruptions in the park have also been witnessed hanging around the laundromat. They were seen lighting fireworks off in the laundromat and throwing burning books at a garage last year. The officers were not sure what the outcome of these reported events were, but promised to look into it.
Another neighbor reported that on Sunday, May 28th she witnessed Elena, age 13, one of the youths, being straddled face down while being whipped in the park by an older male while 2 other males watched, in what appeared to be an act of sexual assault. When asked if she needed help, Elena responded that they were “just playing.” It was unclear as to whether she actually wanted help, but was just afraid of retaliation.
A neighbor expressed concern that these children have no respect and no boundaries and that the situation is escalating.
It is thought that these children may be foster children and that many of them live at 310 S. Pitt St.
Someone posited that because there are so many rentals with people who don’t stay long in the community, that there is no neighborhood mentality, which prevents the relationship building that helps keep a community strong from happening.
Some of the children have told a neighbor that they used to be in a gang before they moved here, but Officer Andy said that to his knowledge the Crips are not in Carlisle. Someone has also seen them “flashing cash” on their Facebook page, but Officer Andy says that generally Carlisle is too small of a town for gangs to be established here unnoticed, and that most drug dealers in this area don’t use kids as drug runners.
There is also concern about how to approach the children about their behavior in the park, which includes littering, swearing, inappropriate conversations, and being disrespectful to other parents. Part of the problem is that the children are often in a large group and they seem to “front” and several of the kids in the group are older and larger.
There was a question as to what type of neighborhood programs are available to help kids. Officer Andy stated that in recent years there has been a swing back to community policing. The Carlisle Police are looking to join the Brother’s in Blue, which is a program where the police team up with Big Brother’s/Big Sister’s to have police officers paired with youths of similar interests to play ball or have lunch at school with them. The police also try to get into the middle school to speak to the eighth graders.
A Carlisle High School student commented that he got into a lot of mischief in middle school, but outgrew it by high school. He suggested that maybe these kids just need a positive atmosphere and time to grow up.
A neighbor, who is a probation officer, says that in the county where she works there is a program where youths work with the probation department to earn restitution to pay back their crimes, but she is not sure if such a program exists in Cumberland County.
Cumberland County has a Youth Aid Panel: https://www.ccpa.net/4363/Youth-Aid-Panel
The Carlisle Police have already increased their patrol around the park, but Officer Andy has also put in a request for more foot patrols. They used to have bike patrol, but they currently don’t have the manpower for it. They are hoping to hire a few more officers and then enroll some in bike school since police have to be certified to ride a bike on patrol.
Community police officers also attend all neighborhood association meetings. Any information that citizens pass on to the police about suspicious or disruptive behavior helps them better target their patrols; it helps to know when and where bad behavior is occurring. SoSo members are the police’s eyes on the street. He recommends emailing the officers with non-urgent information. The email addresses of Carlisle’s patrol police officers can be found here: https://www.carlislepa.org/departments/police/staff/patrol-section/. The police are hoping that their presence will act as a deterrent. He also hopes to have the officers approach these children to closer observe their situations.
Typically package thieves are either criminals for whom this is their MO or it is a crime of opportunity. Criminals who target packages are typically easier to catch, since they are more likely to get caught on home surveillance or there is a pattern. Criminals who just see a package that is easy to grab while walking by tend to be harder to catch.
The police suggest making requests for deliveries to be left someplace specific that is out of sight, like on a back porch, scheduling deliveries for when you are home or having packages require a signature, or having it delivered to and held at the post office. He also suggests that neighbors help each other by letting their neighbors know when they get a package or by grabbing their neighbors packages and getting them out of view, or holding onto it and bringing it to them later that day.
-Amnesty laws encourage heroin users to call for help so that the police can deliver Naloxone to save their friends that overdose. Users used to be more inclined to let their friends die rather than risk getting themselves in trouble with the law. However, now users can use in front of the police with impunity if the police are there responding to an overdose. The Carlisle Police have treated overdose on the same person twice within 12 hours. They cannot force a heroin user into rehab unless they are arrested and charged first. There was a question as to whether Dickinson College has a social work or public health program that could partner with the DA’s office. However, with fewer drug arrests, fewer users are in the system to be sent to drug rehab. The police hope to catch drug users in other ways in order to get them in the system. The police think that landlords can put in a lease that they can evict tenants for criminal activity, which allows for a civil eviction.
-The police think that the dealer on the house on Baltimore St. was arrested by the SWAT team in one of the raids in the early spring, but he thinks that there are still heroin users in the house.
-Neighbors have noticed activity at the laundromat parking lot on S. Pitt St. from 11 PM to 4 AM that appears to be drug deals.
-Police warned that there can be a delay in arrests at drug houses, especially drug dealer houses, because the County Drug Task Force gets involved, and they want to make sure that there is enough evidence for the cases to not be thrown out. The police will often catch drug dealers with traffic stops. They note in their system individuals who keep getting stopped for simple arrests.
-Police request that residents that report suspicious activity include as much information as they can such as description of the suspects, names, photographs, or videos. However, the police warn that residents should not do anything to endanger themselves, and that it is illegal to record audio and video of someone in a private setting without their permission. Photography is allowed and video without audio is allowed. Video and audio in a public setting is allowed, but residents must be careful to not record people inside of of their homes.
-The police have stopped using drop cameras due to technical problems.
-CamTech Wireless cameras require a line of sight between the towers or it increases the cost of adding the cameras. Residents can make requests as to the location of cameras in town. Officer Andy says the administration needs to look into whether there is a good line of sight in the Butcher Family Tot Lot.
-SoSo members are interested in having a camera placed in the park or having residents who live near the park purchase cameras to monitor the park. Someone suggested that wild game cameras are only about $200.
-Someone asked if there are incentives for homeowners to buy cameras to aim at the park. It was suggested that he contact the Borough Council about it, maybe grants are available.
-There is still money left in the Butcher Family Tot Lot Improvement project funds that could be put toward a camera in the park.
-The cameras in Carlisle are monitored live at the desk from 7-11, but there is not someone dedicated to monitoring it. However, the footage is recored and cameras themselves can be a deterrent. The police request that residents report what time and where they see suspicious activity because it helps them know when and where to focus their patrols.