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Reading police talk specifics during crime summit

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Mar 17 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 19 2013 06:26:43 AM CDT

The war on crime is waged every day in Reading.

READING, Pa. -

The war on crime is waged every day in Reading and Monday, the city's police department talked specifics about just what officers have been up against lately.

The Reading Police Department outlined what it's had to manage this past month in a summit at Alvernia University.

"In the past, no one knew anything," said Stratton Marmarou, Reading City Council.

Marmarou said he appreciates being able to listen in on what would normally happen behind closed doors.

"When the people in my district say, 'What's going? or, What happened here?' we can tell them," said Marmarou. "You didn't only have a burglary, there was an apprehension."

Police went through each quadrant of the city and discussed many of the prevalent crimes they are investigating.

Year to date, they've solved 78 percent of what they call Part II cases, including drugs and vandalism. Year to date, they've solved 25 percent of Part I cases, including homicides and assaults.

Marmarou said regular people can help boost those numbers.

"They are our eyes and ears," said Marmarou.

Some of the frequent problems mentioned by the Reading Police Department include robberies, burglaries and even thefts from vacant homes for copper.

The head of the Department of Criminal Justice at Alvernia, Ed Hartung, said many of those are related to drugs.

"Those people who steal those things, they're not stealing those things to buy groceries. Trust me," said Hartung, "They're stealing those things to have money to buy drugs."

Hartung, a professor and former FBI agent, said the Reading Police Department should be commended for what they've been able to do considering the turnover and man power.

"Really, they need about 250 officers," said Hartung. "That's what it calls for in this city, and to be able to accomplish what they accomplish is something short of a miracle."