How To Pay for Police Calls in the Poconos

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. -- Borough officials in one community say just three businesses are responsible for almost all calls to police. Some homeowners in Mount Pocono want these businesses to pay a greater share for police coverage.

There are two business districts in mount Pocono -- a quaint shopping area in the heart of the community, and shopping centers filled with chain stores near Interstate 380. It's businesses in these shopping centers that Mount Pocono's council president Claudette Williams says are the source of most of the calls to police.

"That means we have to put more police hours, which means it makes it more taxing on our budget," Williams said. "In a community where 40 percent of the budget pays the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department for protection, money is tight here."

Money is so tight that borough council members proposed an ordinance that would allow businesses two calls to police each month and then charge $250 for every call after that.

"A lot of townships and boroughs should look at something like this," Williams said.

Vincent April, the owner of the Ye Olde Village Trader consignment shop called police just twice in the past three years. Crime maps show three chain stores made 500 calls during the same timeframe.

April says small businesses and homeowners are struggling with the price of policing.

"I have to make 'X' amount to cover this. It's very stressful," said April.

One of his customers fears for workers at businesses once they've used up their two monthly calls.

"If you already reached your quota, then you're hesitant to make the call, which is bad," Julio Melendez said.

Mount Pocono Mayor Mike Penn used a veto to kill the plan for now. Penn fears what might happen if a business hesitated to call police.

"If there are accidents or problems that police don't get to as a result of our ordinance and negligence is found, that's a concern of mine," said the mayor.

Mount Pocono leaders want chain stores to add more security at their businesses, which they hope will cut down on police calls.

13 comments

  • Rusty Knyffe

    So, the owners of the shopping centers should be responsible for providing security to its tenants. Charging $63 per square foot for retail space, PLUS utilities? C’mon……

  • not_pennysltucky (@ds18301)

    This is typical of the economic havoc Walmart reaps everywhere it goes locally and nationally. It kills local business, making billions for the Walton family while sticking it to the middle class to pay their costs. They “lobby” the GOP/trump (i.e. stuff their pockets) for their enormous tax-cuts, get them and still maintain the highest rate of part-time workers who cannot make a living wage or receive benefits and therefore we have huge numbers of Walmart employees on food stamps and other assistance (paid for by you Lblisters et al!!). The Waltons have done very well under trump –now paying little (or no) personal, business or inheritance taxes (and by the way their cuts are permanent, your measly little one was temporary and has already been eaten up by rising gas prices alone). But of course they won’t pay for added private security in Mt Pocono and elsewhere. Why should they? Lisa Marshinki, WhopperP (et al who rant here) will happily pay for it for them!…The rich should be paying their fair share of taxes as they use MORE of the local and national INFRASTRUCTURE. Exxon pays ZERO in federal taxes yet we spend hundreds of billions on a military presence across the Middle East to “protect” their interests. And yet you folks still vote against your own self interests as you’re so easily distracted by the shiny lights of Fox. Sad.

    • eye4ni

      Maybe raise taxes – unfortunately costs have gone up and every elected official vows to not raise taxes and some even blow smoke and say they will lower them. But the truth is If costs goes up, needs goes up, and revenue goes down they the elected officials slash the budgets of public services and then your left with (Mt. Pocono Pennsylvania).
      I know I know you cant raise taxes because the people are already taxed so much – But the other truth is the calls from the store for police service are because of the people you are shielding from higher taxes not the the store. I vaguely remember a few months back that Mt.Pocono wanted to start their own police service or leave from the one that serves their community now. Seems like a sinking ship with a blind captain at the helm.

      • Tim Barto

        This has nothing to do with taxes. There is an ever growing portion of the population with no morals. What they are not given through welfare programs they will simply take. Instead of working a regular job they will supplement the welfare income with criminal activities. Jobs and tax rates don’t matter because they have no intention working.

      • darkhorse6669

        Tim, where do you get these super cynical racist views? Ive never met anyone like you describe despite you saying theres a ton of them now. Most people want to work and prosper.

  • Jeff Woehrle

    The ordinance as written called for the business to be charged if no charges are pressed by the business making the call. In such a case, the police responded to act as a security guard for the store. This ordinance is akin to similar fines for nuisance fire alarms when no fire is present.

    You cannot charge anyone for making a call to the police. However, you CAN issue a fine when the call is not warranted. If someone is caught shoplifting, the store should ALWAYS press charges. If not, the police have become the store’s defacto security guard on the taxpayer’s dime.

  • Bill Gallagher

    “A lot of townships and boroughs should look at something like this,” Williams said.

    Uhhh, they don’t because it is unlawful in Pennsylvania.

  • whopperplopper

    when the vermin from across the bridge first appeared in the 80’s it all started to go to he** and has only gotten worse.
    charge out of staters the $250 at the watergap to come into Pa.
    it’s they’re fatherless children creating most of the problems and they’ll be paying it forward

  • eye4ni

    Too bad the store didn’t close and go to another town where the elected official’s arent idiots.
    The store’s call for help gets victimized, then taxed for being a victim.
    WOW!
    Sounds like a great place to have a business where do you sign up for such a lucrative investment???

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