Residents: things getting better on Cotton Street

Residents: things getting better on Cotton Street

READING, Pa. - More police officers patrolling Cotton Street is a welcome site for many neighbors.

The move comes after a 69 News story aired last month highlighting complaints from business owners that crime was killing business.

69 News took those complaints to leaders like councilwoman Marcia Goodman Hinnershitz to figure out how city officials could help curb the violence.

Hinnershitz, who represents the area, has since been leading talks with the mayor and the police chief.

"I have people calling me at home to offer concerns, and I direct them to the police department, so there's that ongoing communication," said Hinnershitz.
But some say, they're still waiting to see a difference.

"The drugs, the crack and the heroin, it's right around the corner," said Leon Sconion, neighbor.

"Fights, shooting, you hear the gunshots go off. Just a whole bunch of things," said Tammi Smith, neighbor.

"You're always going to see a problem so we can't let down our guard," said councilwoman Hinnershitz who urged vigilance as the key.

In addition to increased patrols, authorities are using an advanced crime mapping system to anticipate criminal activity. Since our last report, the police chief says seven guns, as well as large amounts of heroin, methamphetamines and other drugs have been confiscated.

"We look at where the hot spots are, the officers go there, they take proactive measures, and we'll be there as long as there's issues," said Chief Bill Heim, Reading Police Dept. "The officers are doing a great job and I think it's having a good effect on the crime rate.

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