Woman takes a stand against crime in her neighborhood

Woman takes a stand against crime in her neighborhood

READING, Pa. - A Reading woman is taking a stand against crime.

Nancy Centeno-Lerma, who has lived in the 200 block of North Front Street in Reading for the past 20 years, told 69 News she is fed up with the drug activity and loiterers on her block and she is spelling it out for all to see.

Centeno-Lerma said she often has strangers loitering on her front porch or in front of her home, taking part in illegal activities, and she said enough is enough.

"I get tired of telling people, 'Listen, I do not want no smoking. I do not want no rolling on my house,' and then I see that they keep doing it," Centeno-Lerma said.

So, she took matters into her own hands and posted a sign, spelling out a warning for all to see. She is fed up and no longer wants drug activity or loiters anywhere near her home.

"I do not want it in front of my house. If you want to do it over there, you do it over there. You respect my house," said Centeno-Lerma.

Police Chief Bill Heim said loitering is a valid concern in Reading and Centeno-Lerma is not the first person to post such a sign in the city.

"I think it does send the message that people are watching, listening, that they are not going to put up with it," said Heim, adding that such a sign is more than just words.

"That does have legal standing and police can act on that and they can arrest people who are on your property without your permission," said Heim.

Centeno-Lerma said she not only wants more police presence, but she wants her neighbors to take a stand, too, and help bring the block back to what it used to be.

We did speak with several neighbors in that block who do not share her concerns.

Police said they use their crime-mapping system to beef up patrols in problem areas of the city.

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