Ugly gun numbers call for aggressive approach locally

The Sun-Gazette published some admittedly ugly numbers in last Sunday’s edition.

The numbers related to the frequency of gun crime and gun-related deaths in Williamsport and outlying areas both in the past decade and this year in particular.

The numbers indicate shootings and death by gun crime have been a problem throughout the past decade, with 19 people dying and 79 injured. They also indicate this year could be the worst of the 10 years unless there is a complete stoppage of gun crime in the next five months, which would be great.

There’s been a lot put forth by public officials in recent weeks to fight the problem.

Lycoming County District Attorney Eric Linhardt is promising greater backing of the city financially to pay for added patrol needs and greater support than ever for Neighborhood Crime Watch programs.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana is trying to execute a 10-point plan that includes more patrolmen for a special operations group focused on the problem, more lights and cameras in troublesome areas of the city, hiring of an additional codes officer and a quarterly Williamsport-Philadelphia most wanted list.

We don’t agree with all the details of the landlord-tenant registration ordinance he is proposing as it regards personal identification records, though he is on the right track pursuing rental properties as a feeding ground for much of the city’s most dangerous crime.

And we don’t see eye-to-eye on a city ban on drug rehabilitation centers when a properly managed center locally could actually help solve the problem.

But we support the mayor’s aggressiveness regarding the shootings, even though some of the solutions will be pricey for a city on a shoestring budget.

In some larger cities, police and political leaders have quietly forfeited some portions of their boundaries to the criminal element.

That can’t happen in Williamsport and some of its surrounding areas.

The problem has to be fought now before it gets too big to battle successfully.

The DA and Lycoming County Commissioners, mayor and City Council have to be coordinated and aggressive in coming months to make this a more difficult place for drug marketing, often the force behind violence.

And every resource possible to make our neighborhoods safer and less prone to tragic shootings has to be tapped.