Under the Hat: A Safe Place? - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: A Safe Place?

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Erie Police are currently investigating three separate shooting deaths.

The latest involves one of their own officers; witnesses say a man with a gun wouldn't drop the weapon and was shot when he pointed the gun at an officer.

That's in addition to two ongoing investigations; Sammica Roberts died this week after being shot in the head as a bystander to a shooting at East 10th and Brandes.

John Cargile was shot and killed while sitting on a friend's porch in the 700 block of East 25th Street.

In some cities, looking into three shooting deaths at the same time would be considered a slow week.

But in Erie, which averages roughly a murder a month each year, it's a big deal.

Community activists have already held an "emergency meeting" to address the issue of street violence and that is on top of another two-prong community initiative to be more aggressive with offenders and offer programs that address some of the root problems of violence.

Still the shootings and the news coverage that follows them is doing little to stem the growing belief in surrounding areas that Erie is becoming a lawless Wild West town where you are taking your life into your own hands simply by walking down the street.

But hold on.

Erie's eight shooting deaths are eight too many, but eight deaths in nearly nine months is, sadly, within the city's yearly norm.

There's also a general unfairness in labeling Erie as a violent city when larger communities can average nearly one murder…a day.

You should consider it a good sign that Erie is motivated to address street violence; it's a hopeful sign that people here still believe that we are bigger than the problems that we face.

Is there too much gun violence on Erie Streets?

Yes.

Is it an issue that needs to be addressed through both law enforcement and social programs?

Yes.

But does that mean that Erie is an unsafe place to live or work or even visit?

No, it doesn't.

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