Spate Of Taxi And Food-Delivery Robberies Leads To Caution And Anxiety In Reading

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can forgive taxi drivers and food-delivery drivers if they’re a bit jumpy of late.

Five drivers, including two cabbies and three food-delivery workers, have been robbed in the city over a one-week span through Thursday night, according to Reading police.

They were all approached after they pulled up to a specific address to pick up a fare or deliver food at night, police said.

Both cab drivers and a food delivery driver were robbed in the 1200 block of Moss Street.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140111/NEWS/301119955#.UtFqZPRDsxI

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Reading Taps New Technology To Predict And Prevent Crime

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It won’t replace city police officers’ intuition. It’s several techno-steps beyond the crime-mapping Reading has been doing for 30 years. It’s not criminal profiling.

And it’s not psychic.

But PredPol claims its software technology can tell police when and where the next crimes are likely to occur, within a few blocks.

“We are always seeking ways to improve our ability to fight crime in our city – in this case, preventing it before it happens,” Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said at a press conference Thursday. “This technology is a force multiplier.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=516734

Reading Police Department Commends Its Officers

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Attendance was a bit sparse Thursday night at the Reading Police Department’s first-ever commendation ceremony.

But for first responders, the job always comes first.

Chief of Police William M. Heim said about 50 officers, roughly one-third of the department, and their families were able to attend the special recognition evening at the Albright College Theatre at 13th and Bern streets.

Heim said this is the first time the department has held a formal recognition ceremony.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=495564

Reading’s New Spokes-Men: Police Expand Bicycle Patrols

Editor’s note:  We like this!!  Get those guys out there and visible.  It really is a crime deterrent!!

Six police officers in bright yellow shirts quietly pedaled through a courtyard toward Penn Street, emerging onto the sidewalk and startling pedestrians.

Several passers-by smiled at the men’s sudden appearance and one guy yelled out, “Hey, you look good!”

The officers were part of the Reading Police Department’s newly expanded bicycle patrols.

Eight officers were certified for the duty in May at the Reading Police Academy, bringing the total of certified bicycle officers to 30.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=490247

COPS Funds Pose Quandary For Reading Police Department

A big new batch of federal grant money is available to police departments that want to hire more officers, but the strings attached to it make it uncertain whether Reading will apply.
Reading Police Chief William M. Heim said the city is eligible to apply for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) funds from the U.S. Department of Justice for the first time since 2009, when it received $1 million.

A review of grant program rules posted online indicates the city might be able to apply for partial funding of as many as eight police officer positions. Heim said he will be looking at the rules in the coming week.

Law enforcement funding was a big issue at the Berks-Reading crime summit in January, and the COPS application deadline is May 22.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=473304

Reading Police Focus At 4th And Penn Streets Gets Results, City Says

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A stepped-up Reading police focus on the area of Fourth and Penn streets in the first three months of the year yielded a trove of arrests, traffic tickets and apprehensions of people wanted on bench warrants, the city has announced.

Nineteen special details of officers on foot and in cruisers patrolled the area and made 31 arrests for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, drug violations and drunken driving, among other things.  In addition, 37 people who had failed to pay past traffic or parking tickets were taken into custody, as were six people wanted on bench warrants for failing to appear for court proceedings.

Police Chief William M. Heim said, “The reports we are getting from some of the business owners is that it is working, and they feel more comfortable and they think conditions are getting better.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=473001

Noise Complaint Leads To Arrest Of Reading Man On Drug Charges

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Great job Reading P.D.  Book ‘em, Danno!

A complaint about loud music in the 600 block of North 11th Street led to the arrest of a 20-year-old man on drug-trafficking charges, police said Tuesday.

Jose Melendez-Negron was charged with possessing and intending to deliver cocaine, possessing and intending to use drug paraphernalia, possessing a small amount of marijuana and related charges.

Melendez-Negron was committed to Berks County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail following arraignment before Senior District Judge Gloria W. Stitzel in Reading Central Court.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=470343

‘We Have To Do Better’

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City statistics showing that the once-declining number of violent crimes in Reading began to edge up in 2012 drew a variety of reactions Thursday from city, county and community leaders.

Most agreed the trend means it is even more pressing to work on the follow-up ideas coming from last week’s crime summit.

Released Wednesday, the statistics also show crime is less than it was a decade ago.

But that brought a warning: Don’t accept the situation as the city’s new normal.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=445862

Reading Crime Summit Set For Jan. 18; Corbett Commits

Editor’s note:  This is great news!  We think Mark Flanders needs to be there too since Pottstown’s problems are a result of drugs and crime moving between Reading and Philadelphia.

Months of talk about scheduling a crime summit in Reading culminated Monday afternoon when staffers of Gov. Tom Corbett said he would be available to attend Jan. 18, and local officials immediately set about planning the summit.

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said the inability to pin down a date with Corbett had slowed planning.  The original call for the summit was issued in May in a front-page editorial in the Reading Eagle.

“We finally got a date,” Spencer said.

Invitees will include all federal and state lawmakers who represent Berks, county commissioners, city Police Chief William M. Heim, representatives of federal agencies like the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=434351