When Jeff Reeder witnessed someone being gunned down in his driveway in Williamsport’s East End a number of years ago, he didn’t stick his head in the sand and stay quiet.
He took action by organizing people in a neighborhood watch.
Reeder urged Montoursville residents concerned about last month’s Jordan Avenue shooting to be proactive as well.
“We now have 10 to 15 people show up for (neighborhood watch) meetings,” he told about two dozen residents who gathered at the municipal building Wednesday night to discuss the recent Montoursville shooting and what can be done to keep their homes and lives safer.
Reeder said his neighborhood watches have made a difference by getting residents to know each other better and to act as eyes and ears against crime.
Kim DiRocco, a Montoursville councilwoman and mayoral candidate, called the meeting after witnessing the borough shooting just a few doors from her home on May 28.
She recalled hearing five shots and subsequently seeing two men racing up a nearby alley.
DiRocco then called police.
Donte Jamal Jones, 22, of Philadelphia, was arrested in the shooting on Sunday. He remains in the Lycoming County Prison without bail.
The second suspect remains at large.
State police have reported the shooting was an apparent act of retaliation against Chad Stutzman for stealing heroin, cocaine and two handguns from the two drug dealers.
DiRocco said witnessing the incident cannot be understood unless it’s experienced.
“This has been devastating to a neighborhood,” she said. “This is a serious situation.”
She labeled it a “wake-up call” to all neighborhoods.
Reeder outlined some of the ways to make a neighborhood watch successful. It means reporting suspicious activity, keeping houses well lit or equipped with security systems.
He urged residents to get police involved, too.
“They work for you. You pay their salaries,” he said. “Remember, you are making their job easier.”
Rev. Robert Logan, 117 Allendale Drive, said Montoursville residents tend to keep to themselves.
“We have a lot of elderly people,” he said.
Reeder said an important aspect of a neighborhood watch is for people to get to know each other.
Pat Brobson, 1418 Fairview Drive, urged everyone to become more “nosy” about what’s happening in their neighborhoods.
“We need to get young people involved,” added Lou Bassler, 400 Jordan Ave.
DiRocco urged those at the meeting to sign up for a neighborhood watch program.
“This was a very good meeting,” she said.
DiRocco noted that by merely showing up to the meeting, people are showing they care.
She said she’s hopeful borough police, who were not apparent at Wednesday’s meeting, will become involved in the group’s efforts.