OUTSMARTING THE BAD GUYS IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO WILKES-BARRE’S GANG PROBLEM!
Citing a “crisis of lawlessness,” former Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Tony George on Monday pressed Mayor Thomas Leighton to restore law and order to the City of Wilkes-Barre in the wake of one of its most vicious weekends to date. Tony George suggests massive saturation patrols as a part of a major answer to this past weekend of murder. As one of the five candidates for Mayor, I was not consulted.
Likewise, Darlene Duggins-Magdalinski, George Brown, and Frank Sorick were not consulted by the press apparently because none of us have a police background. Most people in Wilkes-Barre do not have a police background but we all are aware that there are way too many murders in this town. Check the blogs and you will see that just about everybody has some thoughts and opinions on how to make things better. Just a few minutes ago, I was interviewed about my thoughts on the matter. I am glad the press is doing its job. On his web site, Mr. Brown offers that the police need more training and more resources to continue to wage war on crime. I suspect that he too was interviewed and will be offering additional insights in the near future. This essay contains my insights based on research and discussions with experts.
Those who really know how to deal with the kinds of problems ripping up Wilkes-Barre today will tell you that saturation patrols are simply “Eye candy for the public.” The public will see expanded patrols and most will conclude that public officials are finally doing all they can to solve the violent crime wave.
Regardless of how hard officials are working, when their efforts are not producing the desired results, more of the same medicine is not the solution. We need a technique that is proven to work to combat this problem. What problem? Have we identified the problem? At least we need not be burdened by the same issues the federal government has in calling a terrorist a terrorist. You know what I am talking about!
We are clearly encountering major gang violence and so instead of saying we do not know what the problem is or whether it was drug related, we need to identify the problem post haste. Only with a quick ID can we can crush it before it crushes us. We have to see it that way, and we have to call it that way or none of our efforts to fight it can be successful. No unidentified problem has ever been solved.
We are not the first town in Pennsylvania with this problem. We can learn a lot from other cities. For example, Allentown has seen a 26% decrease in gang related crimes in just the past year. What are they doing that we are not? Wilkes-Barre needs to stop the increase in violence and work like Allentown to bring the numbers way down to zero.
The people in Philadelphia and New York and Pittsburgh and other major cities may be wondering where their bad actors have been heading. The police in those areas actually know how to put a big dent in crime. The people of Wilkes-Barre no longer need to guess about where the Bloods and the Crips, the Trinitarios, and the Latin King gangs have been heading. After this bloody week in Northeastern PA, it is obvious they have headed to a suburb near us all. Wilkes-Barre, PA is just about 120 miles from Philadelphia, Newark, and NYC; and just 60 miles from Allentown. The bad guys have arrived and are making themselves known.
Public Officials in Wilkes-Barre and our City population in general are like babes in the woods compared to these gangs. We are easy pickings. We have seen nothing like this ever before and this is just the beginning. Saturation patrols and training are not bad ideas, but they are not the first things we need to do. We need expert help and we need to think.
We do not have the in-house talent to fight these expert criminals. We need outside expertise and we need knowledgeable operatives. We must begin programs that are designed to bring lasting results. Eye candy is not going to do it. Very public police promotions and a ton of police vehicles on the streets may look good and they may allay some fears; but they too are not going to solve our problem.
Mayor Leighton, not Mayor George, or any other future mayor, needs to start immediately and not for showfor real. We cannot wait nine months until inauguration day, 2016 to begin to meet this hydra all-heads-on.
Wilkes-Barre needs to plan now, and execute undercover operations as soon as possible to identify problem areas and delivery dates of drugs and money transfers. We need intelligence. It is no surprise that these are gang / drug related shootings by out of state thugs.
Once we gain the intelligence about the dates/times; we must establish a flow chart of suspects, vehicles, locations, and distribution points. This is just the beginning but it is the most important part. We might look at the end result of the data collection as a war room with intelligence coming in from the operatives in the neighborhoods and the police. Can you envision a map for all problem areas in the city. In this way, all bad actors are identified, including where they live and where they hang out, and who their favorite lady may be. When the information is collected, we execute the plan.
Once this has been established, we stagger the police patrol / special operations units to pull over and initiate searches of cars and suspects. This will result in arrests for sure; but more importantly it will mess up the perpetrators’ understanding of police schedules and activities.
As hard as it may be to accept, the thugs operate often with more sophistication than our own police units. While City officials are wringing their hands trying to figure out what to do, these bad actors conduct surveillance on cops and they understand their environment more-so than the cops do. For them it’s life with lots of profit and lots of sex or death. Wilkes-Barre and most small communities in the “suburbs” are way behind the 8-ball in understanding this. We have never had to deal with gangs at the life and death level before. These nasty folks would just as soon kill you as look at you.
Let me make this point a bit stronger, please. We need an extraordinary effort not just twice or three times what we have been doing in the past. Working harder won’t do it. We must work smarter. We do not need smoke, we need a lot of fire. This is a battle for the City’s drug trade by out of state / out of area gangs. They will blow your head off quicker than anyone in Northeast Pa will ever know you’re gone. Wilkes-Barre cannot do this alone. It will take a coordinated city, state, and federal response. The City does not have the resources to combat this problem or the money to do so.
Wilkes-Barre and all other small communities where this scourge is spreading, have limited resources. Intelligence will eliminate guess work and provide positive results with little manpower. This is how one must attack this problem. Once a flow chart identifies players and affiliations, we can involve state and federal agencies with wire taps, surveillance logs and RICO statutes.
We need major expertise. I have spoken with law enforcement officers from other areas, and they are in agreement that groups such as the JBF (Junior Black Mafia), the Bloods- Crips, etc., besides a deep love of drug profits have one other common denominatorlovely young agreeable women. Since we are adults trying to solve an adult issue here, these experts say that if you can find the lovelies that these bad actors are “courting,” you find them!
This cannot mean business as usual for police and other parts of our law enforcement apparatus. It is a new business completely. We have been unprepared. We are still unprepared. Trying the same ole same ole is not going to cut it. For those of us who love Wilkes-Barre, we cannot get out of this bad business without crushing it to bits. We must destroy it. So, we have to get into it big time. We have no choice but to win by outsmarting the bad guys and locking them up for good. When it is no longer a comfortable spot to conduct their nasty business enterprises, these gangsters will leave Wilkes-Barre as quickly as they found us.
About Brian Kelly:
Brian Kelly is a former IBM Senior Systems Engineer and Retired Professor of Business and Information Technology (BIT) at Marywood University in Scranton, PA. He was a candidate for US Congress from PA District 11 in 2010. Kelly is now a candidate running (some say walking) for Mayor in his home town of Wilkes-Barre PA. He is clearly the underdog as the Wilkes-Barre Press and the Democratic Party, his Party choose not to highlight his campaign as the only candidate who is not part of the political system or the current administration.
Therefore, Brian boldly asks every citizen in Wilkes-Barre that has never been privileged for anything in life to look at him as the “I know nobody” candidate for Mayor. Brian Kelly represents the rest of the City– the part of Wilkes-Barre citizenry that has never been represented.