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Leaders discuss crime-fighting efforts, hope talk soon leads to action

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Mar 11 2013 05:47:31 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 12 2013 12:56:05 PM CDT

Law enforcement and elected leaders representing Reading and Berks County gathered Monday to figure out the next steps in improving the overall well-being of the city and its residents.

READING, Pa. -

Law enforcement and elected leaders representing Reading and Berks County gathered Monday to figure out the next steps in improving the overall well-being of the city and its residents.

Their meeting was a followup to the county's crime summit in January. Commissioner Christian Leinbach said that not only were numerous law enforcement strategies discussed, but what strategies have not been working.

"We, as elected officials, have done a poor job explaining what we already do, to cooperate not just with the city, but county entities, to deal with the issue of crime," said Leinbach.

City and county officials spent the day brainstorming inside Reading City Council chambers. Since their last meeting, officials said they have had nearly two months to think about better ways to support programs that work, remove programs that do not work and crack down on problematic issues.

Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer said topics ranged from prescription drugs, gun violence and stabbings to more patrol officers on the city's streets.

"I think the main thing for us in the city is dealing with. as I said before, the shooting. Also, the issue of being able to get people out in the street and communicate the things that are going on," said Spencer.

Other areas addressed on their priority list include cracking down on quality of life code violations, cleaning up the city's streets, and having a member of City Council involved in county crime meetings on a regular basis.

The goal of Monday's meeting was for residents to see their words turned into actions, Leinbach said.

"I'm hopeful that one of the things they will see very soon is a definitive report on how county government works, not just with the city government, but works with police departments across Berks County," said Leinbach.