Area police report that they have prepared for the potential of increased crime during New Year’s Eve.
Officials from Johnstown Police Department, Upper Yoder Township Police Department and West Hills Regional Police Department said they will increase patrols in anticipation of potential problems.
West Hills police Sgt. George Musulin stated that the combination of road conditions and festive activities may lead to an increased amount of accidents.
“We’re aware that more people will be on the road late coming home from the bars and we will have officers out their monitoring their driving,” Musulin said.
According to Upper Yoder police Chief Walter Howell, the department increases its patrol despite never having a large increase of crime during the holiday.
“There is the occasional DUI or disorderly conduct, but we don’t normally see too much because Upper Yoder is dry,” Howell said. “We don’t have any bars in the township.”
Sgt. Patrick Goggin of the Johnstown Police Department stated that the department sees an increase of alcohol related and domestic incidents.
“We try to beef up patrols because we don’t know what we’re going to see,” Goggin said.
Goggin said that while some may want to bring in the new year with celebratory gunfire, the act is illegal.
“I know it happens,” Goggin said. “I would discourage it because like the use of fireworks, it is illegal and dangerous.”
All three suggested that people who drink should have a designated driver or take advantage of the free cab services that will be provided from bars to homes within 15 miles in the Greater Johnstown and Windber areas from Greater Johnstown Yellow Cab and DC Cab Co.
Those interested in free cab rides can call 539-1584 and 535-4584.
Katie Smolen of Johnstown is serving an internship at The Tribune-Democrat during a winter-session break at Edinboro University, where she is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communications.