The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 7, 2013

Top 10 of 2013 | Is shooting part of overall crime increase?

JOHNSTOWN — An argument about a vehicle allegedly ended in a murder on Wednesday morning.

The shooting occurred in the 500 block of Cypress Avenue in Johnstown’s Moxham neighborhood.

Was it part of an overall escalation in violent crime throughout the city?

That is one of the questions Johnstown’s new Drug and Crime Commission is attempting to answer. The board, consisting of 12 community leaders, including its chairman, state Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Johnstown, has been in place since the beginning of this year. Members are studying data and conducting interviews in a attempt to determine if crime has actually increased, and, if so, what can be done to halt the rise.

“When you get a report like this (shooting), it kind of confirms the idea that this is an issue we need to ask questions about,” Barbin said.

The crime commission will meet once per month between now and June to discuss how drugs, education, housing and other matters impact the local crime rate. It will then issue a report to Johnstown City Council.

“What’s causing this?” asked Barbin. “Things aren’t usually caused by just one factor. If we look at all the factors, we’re more likely to get a recommendation that will help.”

This week’s incident reportedly started with a dispute between Shahliek Maxwell Greene, 19, and Joshua Scott Price, 29.

Greene is accused of shooting Price at least four times with a handgun. A search warrant has been issued for the vehicle, but, at this time, the alleged crime does not appear to be related to narcotics, one of the commission’s primary areas of concern, according to Johnstown police Chief Craig Foust.

“It was just a violent act. ... Incidents like this can happen anytime, anywhere,” Foust said.

At least one Moxham resident claimed there had been previous problems at the location.

“It was not a surprise when I heard it was that specific home,” said Rachel Allen, who lives on Cypress Avenue. She added, “My initial response (to the shooting) is anger and frustration. This is genuinely a great place to live. I would say about 80 percent of the people here are friendly, family oriented people.”

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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