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Southeastern PA

Quakertown homeowner's association wants drugs out of community

QUAKERTOWN, Pa. - Members of a homeowner's association in Quakertown are concerned about the increase of drug and criminal activity in their community.

So concerned, President of Independence Place Community Association, 200 Madison Court, Ron Myers appeared before Quakertown Borough Council Monday evening inquiring on the feasibility of installing cameras throughout the association community.

Independence Place Community Association is located off Route 309 and includes 108 townhouses.

Myers said drugs such as heroin are becoming an issue in the community.

"It [request for cameras] was initiated because small kids found packs of heroin this summer," he said.

Borough Manager Scott C. McElree suggested the association contact its attorney to research privacy matters that may exist.

"The expectation of privacy is an issue," McElree said.

However, McElree indicated, based on his experience, an association may install cameras.

"There is a deterrent factor," he said.

Myers asked about attaching the cameras to  borough poles. McElree said he believes cameras can be attached to the poles.

McElree also said the borough has reserved funds in its 2014 budget to layout and design an electronic surveillance system in Quakertown.

The system would first be set up in public parks and pools. By 2016 the cameras will be installed.

Also, the borough in the future likely will be able to tap into the PennDOT fiber optic system strung throughout the community.

"Our hope in the future is to be able to electronically survey some spots in the borough we recognize," McElree said.

McElree recommended the association set up a day and time to meet with him in the next month to address concerns and the feasibility of installing cameras

In the interim, McElree suggested the association contact borough police if anything criminal in nature is detected.

"It [call] creates an intelligence file," he said.

While McElree acknowledged a problem with heroin and drugs in the borough, he also said the problem exists nationwide.

McElree also said the borough is working with the Bucks County District Attorneys Office, county judges and probation and parole representatives to combat the problem of heroin.

"We definitely have a drug issue in our community we want to address," association board member Melissa Gregory said.

"Our experience is most people don't want to get involved but it's good to see you guys want to," McElree added.

Also during the meeting, Quakertown resident Dan Ritter asked council what he and other residents should do if they are approached by individuals soliciting homeowners for repairs to their homes.

Councilman Michael Johnson said those soliciting must have a borough approved soliciting permit.

"If they don't [have a permit], tell them to leave and call the police," Johnson said.

McElree also suggested Ritter and other residents put up no soliciting and no trespassing signs on their property.

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