Crime Rates Rise in Bradford County

By Matt Markham

July 28, 2011 Updated Jul 28, 2011 at 6:25 PM EDT

Towanda, PA (WBNG Binghamton) Growth brings change to any area. There has been a lot of change in Bradford County over the past few years, but that change includes a growth in crime.

"I won't say Bradford County's gone to crime," said District Attorney Dan Barrett. "It just that Bradford County has increased at every seam."

Industry is booming, and business is good in the Northern Tier. But, crime is spiking.

"When our number of completed cases rose by 35% in one year, we had to recognize we had a lot more coming in," Barrett said.

Felonies and misdemeanors county-wide are up 20%. DUI's in Towanda Borough are up 50%.

"Our jail population is up," said Sheriff C.J. Walters. "More people in jail, more inmates we have to move."

Do these numbers rise as the number of gas wells rises?

"The gas boom has brought more people here," Barrett said. "It's not a gas problem, it's just a people problem."

With the amount of crime and the number of people both growing, Bradford County is also trying to figure out how to grow its infrastructure to keep up.

"I started charging all inmates that I transport a transportation fee," Sheriff Walters said.

The sheriff's department is working more extraditions, issuing more warrants, present for more hearings.

One possibility if it doesn't get the help it needs, "possibly cut some services if we can't get any more man power," Sheriff Walters said.

State Police have added five troopers to the Towanda barracks. It is the primary response agency in the county.

The District Attorney will try to streamline the court process.

"It's largely a question of more, and how are we going to get more, and how are we going to allocate what we have," Barrett asked.

The early numbers for 2011 show crime continuing to trend upward.

The District Attorney says traffic-related fatalities more than doubled this year.

The total number of accidents rose 35%.