Removing Basketball to Prevent Crime

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WILLIAMSPORT-- No shooting, no scoring, no rebounds or assists.

At Williamsport's Memorial Park, the hoops, backboards and posts on the basketball court have been removed by order of the city's mayor.

Mayor Gabe Campana said he made the move after persistent problems with littering and drug use.

"We gave certain individuals an opportunity to make things better, to step up to the plate, and I am not going to allow a shooting to occur in that park like they have in other parks in the city," said Campana.

Across town, at an event celebrating the city's little league history, reaction was divided.

Steve Reed said, "I don't think it is a problem that they took those hoops down. If people had respected the place, it would still be there."

However, even in this community that is crazy about baseball, a lot of families also enjoy shooting hoops.

Steve Sanso said, "I take my kids down there and we play, so you know, I was a little upset. If they keep them down, they need to provide something else for the children to do."

Mayor Campana told Newswatch 16 he is moving ahead with plans to transform the park with special amenities for senior citizens.

Campana said, "We are looking at a new sport called pickleball. It is the fastest growing sport among senior citizens, and we are looking at putting some courts in there."

He added a new pool is also in the works for Memorial Park, and pointed out that there are several other basketball courts in the city.

Some residents said they are working on a petition, and plan to present it at a meeting on Monday in Williamsport.


  • b hamilton

    ok us voters have a choice we can recall the mayor basicly it means to impeach him he has been violting our rights since was elected

  • Stan Gahpa

    We had the same problem in an apartment complex where I once lived. The owner was coaching kids basketball and replaced one of the tennis courts with a basketball court one spring. It was lit at night, just like the tennis courts were.

    It was okay at first. We had a lot of new faces on the court, but they were generally well behaved and welcomed. But within a month every hood within 10 miles starting treating the place like a public park. They’d be out there screaming, cursing and fighting into the wee hours of the morning. They would drink from the neighbors’ hoses. After playing all night, they would just jump into the apartment complex pool to wash their sweat off.

    Needless to say, many of us living in the complex complained. The hoops didn’t even last a summer. Tennis courts went back up and the problems disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.

  • Randy

    Look at the bright side, they maybe closer to heaven, but it is nice to go out with a smile. The Mayor has some good thoughts about the people that will “Respect” land that was donated for enjoyment and fun, Its nice to relax in a nice “clean” park, We have just to many people that can not “Respect things”. I suppose these things reflect the up bringing of a few individuals or so called “Bad Cookies”, Maybe the mayor could hire a security company to watch or even baby sit the children that feel its all right to damage and destroy public property, The bottom line is “Costs”. so if you feel he is being selfish about things, start getting involved with activities that are going on in the parks. Think of it this way, when you go home and look at you home and you see the “F” Word written on your vinyl siding, you would be mad, so don’t get mad a the mayor decision’s, he doing just what you would do, try to protect things.

  • Miss Amy

    ok so he wants to make more things available for the “senior citizens” that are not going to be around very long, cant even do a whole lot, Have lived their lives but, taking things away from the kids because of to much crime? SO there is nothing in the town to do for the kids but cause trouble. If people are littering and seeling drugs in the park how in the world does the dumba** mayor think this is going to solve anything? They will still go to the park to sell their drugs and litter and now they will just be selling the drugs to the elderly. Is the mayor that stupid that he thinks that A. this is going to stop the crimes and the drugs? B. I he really that naive to think that the elderly does not abuse drugs? What kind of moron is running that town (into the ground)? What plans does he have to build anything for kids to do to keep them out of trouble? Does he really think that taking these hoops down is going to “prevent a shooting in that park?” Campana is nothing more than a waste of good space who obviously is not taking in enough oxygen. Is it any wonder Williamsport is having the crimes lately? The best decission i made was getting away from the idiots running Williamsport, Mr. Mayor things have gone to hell since you have been “in charge” think about it maybe you should leave office and let someone that knows what the hell they are doing in there to run the place

  • you moron

    Because of the sambos in williamsport you lost your basketball hoops… becreful… your fried chicken restaurants are next…

  • Adam Buckman

    so what they took away the basket ball hopes people are still going deal drugs somewhere els and im sure they were keep kids out of trouble cant wait to see kids cause trouble now that they cant play baseball

  • Melissa

    The mayor is like a parent and the citizens are like the children. The “parent ” told the “kids” if the park wasn’t kept clean then there would be consequences (the taking down of the basketball hoops). Be glad that he at least followed through with what he said. All of you up in arms would be just as mad if he had not followed through with it.

  • lookinthemirror

    I am going to place this here, without placing my name here for self protection(you’ll understand why in a sec).. when I came to this city some years ago, one of the first things I learned was WHO was allowing the drugs to come into the city freely.. it was not at that time, those who came for drug treatment, even tho they did not help the issue.. So when today’s leaders want to look at solving the true issue, they may wish to look around outside basketball courts to their peers, young and old.. enough said..

  • John

    Give it a rest people. He already warned the community that if things did not improve this would happen. It’s about time someone stuck to their word and took some action. Removing a basketball court is NOT going to increase violence. He simply wants the type of individuals that are ruining the park to go elsewhere so it serves it’s purpose. Not a place for inappropriate activities. To sit there assume that he thinks this is going to solve all violence is completely inaccurate. He is well aware of what happens in the city. He’s making an example out of this behavior. Why is it so hard for people to take responsibility for their actions? And why is it so hard for people that don’t like it to simply go somewhere else. There are plenty of other places to play basketball if that is simply all that is wanted.

  • Yogie

    I think its a shame…Memorial Park really? Last i knew there were more violent crimes etc. at Flanigan Park. Nonsense!

  • Eddie

    WOW!! Is this mayor for real. This isn’t an elementary school classroom. I guess now people and guns aren’t the cause for shooting people, but public parks and basketball hoops cause shooting people. Are you kidding me. This does nothing to help prevent the cause of the violence among violent people. What a shame that the majority of people who enjoyed those hoops and park have it taken away.

  • Ron

    It’s odd that Mr. Sanso feels that the city is obligated to provide something for his children to do. Perhaps the area would be better served if He worked toward finding something for his children something to do.

    • Ryan

      What do you suggest? The man take it upon himself to build a basketball court for the community? Using that logic, why do we have any parks or public venues at all seeing as it’s the parents responsibility to provide entertainment for their children. Look, people pay taxes for this type of thing and they don’t deserve to be taken away just because a vengeful mayor is upset with “certain individuals”.

      If the mayor was truly concerned with stopping the drug activity or violent crime you’d think he would attempt to fix the problem by trying things like increase police presence in the area, security cameras, etc.. This comes off as nothing more than an adult equivalent of taking his ball and going home.

    • ME

      Very true. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their children. There are other things to do, though I know it’s not always easy for younger people to get to or participate in, if money and transportation are an issue. If you’re bored, then you have a problem that needs fixing.

  • Ryan

    So instead of having a place for people to go and play basketball he’s going to create a park geared towards senior citizens? Makes perfect sense if you want a more than likely unused park. Also, This mayor comes off as trying to get revenge when he says he gave “certain individuals” a chance. Doesn’t the park belong to the entire community and not just a few? It’s no wonder people are leaving the area in droves when our local politicians are this lazy and won’t even attempt to solve the problem.

    • ME

      Yes, it’s for the community, but a few can ruin it for the many. Unfortunately, that’s almost always the case. I don’t blame the mayor for the action he took. It was the right one. That is how he is solving the problem. Get mad at the lowlives, not the mayor.

      • Ryan

        He’s not solving anything! Did you miss the part where the mayor said he’s turning it into a pickleball park instead? I’m absolutely going to be mad at the mayor as he is implying that Basketball itself is the cause of the violence and drug use whereas pickleball will apparently make everyone live in harmony. It’s a complete waste of time and effort and will solve nothing, though I suppose that’s typical of politics around here.

  • Jason

    So instead of fixing the problem, he’s just gonna make it move to a different court.let’s not worry about the people using it with good intention, our those that are doing the right thing. Fix the problem, go after the drug users, install a security camera, maybe add a security patrol, get the lowlifes of the street, maybe, removing the courts do nothing to the drug users and take away from the over all community,

    • Will Schweitzer

      Nice to see a mayor doing something proactive. Nevermind all of this nonsense about the little drug using thugs being “bored” and turning to vandalism. There are more ways to entertain yourself in 2014 than at any point in human history. If they can afford drugs, they can afford to spend money on their entertainment and leave the park for decent people.

  • Jonathan M

    Great idea! Get rid of things to do to force them to be bored even more! Then when vandalism goes up you can wonder why

    • natalieselleck

      You can hoop set put in your own yard n invite whoever you want you never have to go anywhere

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.