Once again the Williamsport rental ordinance is under pressure from individuals including at least some on City Council that are misinformed. A press conference was held providing very important details regarding this ordinance and a person that wasn't even in attendance gets more lines in the article than the person who has worked on the ordinance for the past eight months.
In one portion the article states that "Hall" stated that there are other methods of keeping drug dealers out of the city and penalizing landlords who violate city code. The article goes on to report that "Hall" stated that it seems that there are more effective ways to deal with crime than putting more laws on the books and adding bureaucracy. The article goes on to state that "Hall" stated we don't have to find these heroin dealers and arrest them, all we have to do is pressure them to move out and you do that with codes, cops, and neighbors staying on their backs. The first line of defense is crime watch and the second line is codes.
Kudos to Councilman Hall for recognizing that we don't have to find the heroin dealers and arrest them and all we have to do is pressure them to move out and the way to do it is through codes, cops, and neighbors staying on their backs. That is exactly the prescription that the ordinance is recommending.
What I disagree with Councilman Hall on is that neighborhood watches are our first line of defense.
To solve this problem we need to be able to hold landlords accountable for renting to individuals who allow drug activity to flourish in and around our neighborhoods. It is going to take a cooperative effort among the police, codes, neighborhood watch groups, and citizens who have heard enough talk and want to see some action.
It is time for our city leaders to lead and do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. If we don't act now we will be passing on this problem to our children to continue playing the blame game instead of protecting them and their futures.
Timothy Scott Miller
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom