Fewer shootings and significantly fewer murders are the key points of the city of Erie's promising crime report for the first half of 2024.

The police chief said Erie is a much safer city than it used to be and that efforts to reduce violent crime are ongoing.

The year 2024 is already six months old, and according to Erie Police, violent crime across the city has declined virtually worldwide.

“There were fewer shots fired, fewer people hit, and then there was only one murder. This time last year there were seven murders,” said Dan Spizarny, chief of the Erie City Police Department.

In the last six months, eight people were shot; in the two years before that, there were almost 30 each.

The chief said they would investigate each individual call and make connections to other cases, and also justified this with an increased focus of resources on violent crimes.

“People don't want to go out, they don't want to go to their neighborhood park or walk around their own block because there is so much violent crime. So we can significantly reduce those numbers. People will feel like they are in a safer city,” said Police Chief Spizarny.

“This used to be a high-crime neighborhood. Now you can walk up and down this street and feel comfortable and safe,” says John Stepp, who has lived here for 50 years.

The chief said they would also use a grant to flood the central east of the city with additional police officers.

“The Burn Grant area is home to 10% of the population, yet 30% of reported crimes occur there. We have specifically targeted crime locations and allocated additional resources to them,” Spizarny said.

The boss said they are monitoring trends and staying up to date on problem areas.

In early 2024, reports of child abuse increased, resulting in an additional detective being assigned to these cases.

“If you have a child who has been abused, but no one investigates their case for two, three or four weeks, that's very bad,” said Michael Gaines, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center. “Having a detective on the team allows all cases to be investigated in a timely manner.”

Although there are more reports, Gaines said the number of actual cases of child abuse remains stable.

While the number of cases of sexual assault against adults has decreased, there has been an increase in property crimes.

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