Arrests Up In Johnson City

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Apr 18, 2007 at 7:15 PM EDT

How safe is the village of Johnson City?

It depends on who you ask.

Christopher Bowick only walks around the village during the day.

"I don't come out at night for fear, you see the young gangs, crowds of kids walking around, you know what I'm saying, I generally handle my business during the day," says Bowick.

"You ain't safe anywhere, it's happening everywhere so what are you doing to do about it," says Ruthie Howe of Johnson City.

"I feel pretty safe in Johnson City, everywhere I go everybody's quiet, keeps to themselves, I haven't noticed too much about crime or anything," says George Wilson Sr. of Johnson City.

But what do the numbers show?

Last year, police were called about 14,750 times.

That's up 10 percent from 2005.

Criminal arrests also went up to about 13-hundred, an increase of 20%.

Mayor Harry Lewis says if people don't feel safe walking around the village, that's obviously a problem.

But he says citizens should be proactive, and help police keep a watch on crime.

"You want to call police, maybe one call wouldn't mean anything, but you get 5 or 6 of them, you get a pattern," says Lewis.

Lewis also hopes to get a handle on the drug problem.

Last year, police made almost 350 drug arrests.

That's up 83 percent.

But Lewis says that's partly because police are better at tracking criminals.

Johnson City crime in 2006 also included the stabbing of a village police officer.

Patrolman Matthew Romano was attacked while investigating a suspicious car in Calvary Cemetery.

He returned to work, but police haven't made an arrest in that case yet.

Lewis says he'll meet with Police Chief Douglas Potts to look at the report, and see what the village can do to improve public safety.

No one from the Johnson City Police Department returned calls for comment.

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