City codes shuts down 2 alleged drug houses

Two properties where alleged illegal drug activities took place were shut down Friday night by city codes and police departments.

Names of the landlords and tenants of the properties, at 727 Hepburn St. and 1112 W. Fourth St., were not immediately available. It is not clear if arrests were made or are pending.

City Police Chief Gregory A. Foresman said police allege the sites held drugs, firearms and money from the sale of drugs.

Under a city rental ordinance, city public safety personnel may shut down properties where these activities are alleged to have occurred and order the occupants evicted, according to Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator. The ordinance, which went into effect Jan. 1, applies to owners and occupants of rental properties, he said.

A demure woman walked out of her apartment door at the Hepburn Street residence. She politely was told she could get her belongings but had to vacate the premises about 5:30 p.m.

Eviction notices and no trespassing signs then were posted on her door.

Joining the police and codes officials were members of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Crime Commission along with other neighborhood watch group members, many of whom clamored to get a look at the action as part of Team Williamsport.

About 45 people, including city Councilmen N. Clifford “Skip” Smith and Don Noviello, walked with city officials.

“Never underestimate the power of our citizens,” said Timothy Miller, assistant police chief with the city department.

He said the goal is to educate and inspire people to take back neighborhoods from drug dealers and users by working with police.