"Williamsport's Mayor, Gabe Campana started off by sending a warning to the individuals responsible for the knockout robberies.
"These perpetrators are punks. Our full focus is on arresting the person or persons responsible and seeking the maximum penalties under law."
Mayor Campana's also unveiled an 8 point plan to fight crimes. The the city looking for funding to fire more police officers. He will also focus on high crime areas and introduce a program in schools.
The mayor says the city and police can't do it alone... So police are asking citizens to contact the police department if they notice anything strange.
Meanwhile, many others in the area are so worried about the rising crime they've been searching for ways to protect themselves. Gun stores in the area are reporting an increase in sales and many are signing up for self defense classes.
Release from the Mayor's Office:
MAYOR CAMPANA ANNOUNCES ANTI-CRIME ACTION STEPS
Today, I am announcing eight major action steps to deal with crime.
A series of planning sessions with city police senior command personnel and citizen group representatives have been conducted.
Especially alarming to us have been the incidents of strong-arm robberies that have occurred. The behavior is outrageous and the perpetrators are punks! Our full focus is on arresting the person or persons responsible and
seeking the maximum penalties under the law. Such conduct is totally unacceptable and will be dealt with harshly.
Action steps to deal with the above crime and other offenses include:
One, creation of a Citizens Police Academy, an intensive training program in which citizens are directly engaged in making the city safer. The Academy will be conducted over a 8-week period, with training sessions once per week, covering such topics as monitoring social media, crime prevention techniques, data and witness gathering, court processes, and the legal ability of citizens to civilly sue owners of rental properties that knowingly rent to drug dealers. I have
named a five-person planning group to finalize the Citizens Police Academy curriculum and schedule over the next 21 days. They are Police Chief Gregory Foresman, Police Captain Timothy Miller, Ronald James, Chair of the Williamsport Crime Commission, Jeffrey Reeder, Chair of the Williamsport Citizens Corps, and Sally Wiegand, neighborhood watch facilitator.
One of the goals of the Academy is to not only train citizens across the city on public safety matters but to enhance the citywide network of neighborhood watch groups.
When an active neighborhood watch exists in an area, crime is deterred and is more effectively dealt with when it occurs. We believe citizens can be the effective eyes and ears of their community. By doing so, crime is less likely to occur and criminals are more likely to be caught and successfully prosecuted.
Two, the three above citizens will meet with Chief Foresman, Captain Miller, and myself monthly to discuss drug related nuisance properties given to them by neighborhood watch volunteers. This way, the neighborhood watch groups’ concerns are directly addressed.
Three, we are placing a more emphasis on the strong-arm robberies. The operational details are confidential, so as to not tip-off robbery suspects of police activities.
Four, the city will explore potential alternative funding for the hiring of additional police officers. These new community police officers would be assigned to high crime areas.
Five, the instruction about the dangers of drugs and personal safety for students in Williamsport schools. The proven model developed by the RAND Corporation is called PROJECT ALERT. It will be offered to schools at no cost and would be taught by a police officer. So many of our offenders, particularly in crimes of violence, are younger persons. We want to reach them early, before behavioral patterns evolve, so as to steer them into positive lifestyles choices. The instruction will commence in March 2014. Two school systems have already agreed to participate: St. John Neumann Regional Academy and West Branch School. The Williamsport Area School District is determining its scheduling.
Six, a three week Landlord Training Academy will be conducted to educate and help landlords become responsible, proud business owners.
Seven, continue to vigorously enforce the Williamsport Rental Ordinance.
Eight, a Nuisance Property Task Force. Reports from neighborhood watch groups will be given to the Nuisance Property Task Force for execution. Captain Miller will explain the particulars at the time.