HAZLETON -- The Hazleton Police Department is taking steps to crack down on public nuisance problems plaguing the city.
Already, it had the city remove benches from an area where it says the drunk and disorderly loiter.
Pictures sent in by the Hazleton Police Chief show crews cleaning the area at the corner of Mine and Vine Streets in the city. The chief says his officers spend hours removing and citing drunk and disorderly people from this area throughout the day and night. He asked the city to crack down on it as it`s become a quality of life issue.
“It was outrageous. It was absolutely outrageous,” said Brian McElwee. “There were 30, 40 people sometimes there hanging out, partying, do whatever they want, open drinking, open everything.”
McElwee and the other people who use a convenience store nearby say they see dozens of people drinking and loitering there every day.
“People, they come up and they just ask you for money all the time, you know what I mean?” said Jacob Bloss. “Just the other day I was over here, they were drinking beer, beer laying around. They didn't pick up the cans.”
The police chief says his officers have to clean the area, picking up beer and liquor cans and bottles, and now, people are leaving behind clothes and other items and urinating in the bushes.
So on the police department's request, benches and a table were removed from that area by the city and tree limbs cut back to provide more light at night. Now the area is empty.
“I’ve even noticed since it happened how clear it’s been over the last day or two,” said McElwee.
“I know there was a bunch of benches up there so people would sit there and wait for people to come up, so that's cool they took that down,” said Bloss.
Many hope this cleanup effort will continue throughout the city.
“Seeing Hazleton now versus when I was a kid, it's definitely changed a lot, so it would be nice to see them cleaning it up as a whole,” said Brianne Mankins.