READING, Pa. — Reading Mayor Eddie Moran issued a community call to action Wednesday afternoon, after a number of shootings in the city over the last week, including two that left victims in critical condition.
"Public safety is this administration's top priority," said Abe Amoros, the city's managing director. "Making sure that our residents are safe in their neighborhoods and streets is the most important function that city government has, but we can't do it alone."
Tuesday night, a 45-year-old woman was shot multiple times in front of her home in the 1200 block of Cotton Street, according to the police.
On Monday, two teens were hit by gunfire while walking in the 1000 block of Spring Street. Later that night, shots were fired in the 1100 block of Moss Street, and a man sitting on his porch was hit by shrapnel.
On Saturday, shots fired near North Ninth and Walnut streets led to an arrest on reckless endangerment charges, and last Wednesday, a man was shot in the leg while trying to break up a fight in the 800 block of Penn Street.
City leaders said the police have increased patrols during each shift, and they're calling on community groups, faith-based organizations and nonprofits to help end the violence.
"If your neighborhood association has been inactive, this is the time to bring it back to life," Moran said. "We cannot do this alone."
Discussions will be renewed next week with the Reading School District about the possibility of adding school resource officers, now that funding has been approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Officials are also asking residents to be a part of making the city safer.
"We are asking residents not to post pictures or video of crime scenes," Amoros said, "because that leads to retaliation."
In many of the shootings, arrests have not yet been made. Investigators urge anyone with information to contact Crime Alert Berks County by calling 877-373-9913 or by texting 847411, starting the message with keyword alertberks.
Moran said he will be meeting next Wednesday with members of the city council in what he's calling a "priorities summit."
"At that time, I will ask every member of Council to also identify community groups within their districts and help us engage with them directly," Moran said. "We will also look to schedule community forums to hear from members of the public and to share with them valuable resources while establishing relationships through our Community Engagement Officer, Lt. Lance Lillis."