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Police calls up near shopping center

January 25, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Police in Washington Township, Pa., have been averaging a call for service every day on the first leg of Washington Township Boulevard and at the commercial development where the road meets Pa. 16.

Police Chief Barry Keller, at the request of the township supervisors, has been tracking calls to the area. It was unknown how the opening of Lowe's and Wal-Mart in the first half of 2006 would affect police services.

Lowe's has been open one year; Wal-Mart opened in May.

The township doesn't have a comparable shopping center, Keller said, and the area of concentrated development was rural not long ago.

"Before, when that was a cornfield, we weren't going there," Keller said.

The 33 calls for police in December 2006 brought the year-end total to 190 for Rouzerville Commons and the preliminary stretch of the relief route between Pa. 16 and Old Forge Road.

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The calls have included shoplifting, vehicle accidents, alarms and keys locked in vehicles, Keller said.

Regular patrols have been established there in an attempt to minimize criminal activity.

"We try to make our presence known out there," Keller said.

The Washington Township Supervisors authorized the hiring of a 14th full-time police officer in 2006. Keller has used statistics showing increased crime in his arguments for a larger complement.

Keller said 594 part-one crimes - which include rape, robbery, assault and burglary - were reported in 2006, up from 517 in 2005. Total offenses were 1,591, up from 1,358 in 2005.

Vehicle accidents totaled 327 in 2006, up from 287 in 2005, Keller said.

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