WILKES-BARRE, November 15, 2013 – Luzerne County state Sens. John Yudichak (D-14), Lisa Baker (R-20) and John Blake (D-22) today released the following joint statement regarding the multiple instances of crime and violence at Sherman Hills apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre.
“The increase in crime, drug-trafficking and violence throughout northeastern Pennsylvania is a significant concern for all elected officials. Public safety is our top priority and through strong bipartisan and regional cooperation, we have made great strides in crafting a regional strategy to combat crime in our communities. Legislatively, we have taken steps to address crime by enacting the state’s first anti-gang law and funding the Attorney General’s mobile street crime unit. Locally, Operation Gang Up community forums, engagement of local crime watch groups and securing state funding for training programs for educators and local law enforcement continue to build community partnerships to battle violent crime.”
“In recent months, we have turned our collective attention to addressing the frightening spike in criminal activity at Sherman Hills apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre. Families with young children are living in fear at Sherman Hills and desperately need the help of local, state and federal leaders to end the senseless violence.
“On September 6, we sent a letter requesting that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) facilitate a meeting with federal, state and local officials to begin the conversation about ending the cycle of violence at Sherman Hills. Last week, HUD informed us that, as a response to our joint letter, the agency conducted a comprehensive Management and Occupancy Review (MOR) of Sherman Hills. The completed MOR report was forwarded to the owners of Sherman Hills who have until November 30 to respond to the overall unsatisfactory rating. HUD is also planning a physical inspection and exploring other steps to end the violence at Sherman Hills.”
“While HUD is not under state purview, we recognize violent crime is a regional issue and deserves our attention and our willingness to work with both federal and local officials to begin to change the culture of violence that exists at Sherman Hills and similar housing complexes across the Commonwealth.”