Heroin, shootings, and rentals going unchecked were on the mind of residents who showed up in the city's East End Tuesday night to participate in a National Night Out walk cut short by a rain storm.
The walk will resume at 6:30 p.m. today at the corner of Tucker and Sherman streets, according to organizers.
But, before the walkers Tuesday were interrupted by rain, several expressed concern about crime and a need for more citizen involvement.
Heroin and gun violence remain on the minds of those who took part Tuesday in National Night Out activities in the city’s East End. Among the walkers were, from left, Michelle Englert, Jane Dirk and Jeff Reeder as they began the stroll from Sherman and Tucker streets just before it began to rain.
Jane Dirk, head of a neighborhood crime watch on Tucker Street for more than 20 years, said she was upset at present-day conditions, especially the drug scene.
"My main concern is heroin and the shootings," she said.
She said she continues to see how the city can be strengthened, but it will take a unified effort.
"Probably, some things could be better, like anything else," she said.
"There's definitely a drug problem, a lack of concern for fellow citizens," said Michelle Englert, vice president of a volunteer group called Williamsport Citizens Corps Council.
In July, city police removed 30 handguns from individuals, most of them involved in the drug trade, according to city Police Capt. Michael Orwig, who spoke earlier in the day about the problem, which he addressed at a state Senate hearing.
"I think the police are doing a decent job, but they can't be everywhere," Englert said.
Donna Camp, who takes part in a crime watch group at Brandon Park, said she believes the police use of Edo, the drug-sniffing and tracking dog trained and handled by Patrolman Jeremy Bell, will help with the drug problem but more eyes helping police can only benefit the city.
"I think we have a problem with so many rentals that it's opening up opportunity for drug dealers," she added.
Walking with the group were members of law enforcement and public safety personnel.