Crime rate in Penn Manor High School

Penn Manor is modernizing with technology, but so are the students who are committing crimes here

Officer Hottenstein is Penn Manor’s resource officer. Photo by Jessen Smith

Jason D. Hottenstein, the school resource officer for Penn Manor, said there will always be crim

e in schools but at Penn Manor, and probably other places, the type of crime committed is changing along with changes in technology.

Hi-tech items such as cell phones, computers and ipods are being taken and are being used to commit crimes of harassment.

“We have stayed about average for crime. We are a high school with a large population, so crime’s expected,” said Hottenstein.

A recent news story in Lancaster Newspapers reported that although crime is going down in the city, some suburbs, including Millersville where Penn Manor High School is

located, have seen an increase in criminal activity.

Hottenstein explained he does not believe that crime has gone down in Lancaster City and up in Millersville, but places everywhere else are catching up, making it look like the city is lowering its crime rate.

What is changing is the nature of crimes committed at Penn Manor.

“The biggest things we deal with are bullying, and harassment. A lot of ‘he said, she said, I heard this, I heard that’ type of stuff,” Hottenstein said.

Popular technology that has been known for being stolen in Penn Manor High School. Photo by Jenna Reel

“Another thing is theft, especially electronics, iPhones, iPods, etc. We combat this with cameras (security cameras in school hallways),” Hottenstein noted. “We can tell when people come in and out of locker rooms and such. The cameras are extremely pivotal for us.”

The school implements policies to deal with different problems.

“The school has a policy for everything. So for example, if somebody steals something they receive the punishment from school, and then they can also have to deal with the police,” Hottenstein said.

Bullying and harassment on the Internet have been reported by the media and people are becoming aware of the problems it causes in the lives of many teens.

In the news recently, six youth have allegedly taken their lives because of cyberbullying.

“Nowadays with Facebook and social networking, bullying is extremely electronic. Bullying is rarely happening face to face anymore,” Hottenstein said.  “The kids need to realize as soon as you post something, there is an electronic trail.”

Hottenstein recalled a recent incident where he had to get a search warrant from Facebook to pursue a bullying case.

Theft incidents of cell phones and ipods are becoming more common in school.

“I don’t think it’s really the kids that are causing the crime to go up, its the economy. The economy’s poor and instead of getting things the proper way, people decide to steal. That’s not just kids, it’s in general.”

By Jenna Reel and Jessen Smith