PHILIPSBURG – Slabtown Park, while viewed by residents as often occupied by loud and sometimes verbally abusive young adults, doesn’t appear to be an issue on paper, according to Rockview-based State Police Soldier Jared Hartsock.
Over the past year, the park has experienced a disturbance and a domestic incident documented by state police, Hartsock noted. There was only one drug possession incident.
The dissonance between the reports and recent residential contributions was evident. Hartsock noted that it seemed like a piece of the puzzle was missing.
“The best advice I can give you is that if there is an incident where you feel the police need to be there, we are there,” Hartsock advised. “Call us and we’ll get back to you.”
Whether the answer will result in an arrest is a separate question, Hartsock said. Kids get energetic, sometimes crossing a line, he noted, and the area is a place for kids to play.
Although the documented trace of the incidents is slim, Mayor John Streno does not doubt the prevalence of the problem.
“I believe all of our citizens say they’ve been harassed by some young people,” Streno said.
At the recent borough meeting, Hartsock also offered other examples of state police presence.
“It has been a great place to work,” said Hartsock. “There is a good group of guys who work hard.”
From mid-May 2020 to 2021, state police handled around 2,000 incidents, according to Hartsock. The incidents included a few aggravated assaults, one attempted homicide, eight common assaults, six burglaries and more. There were 54 incidents involving a drug-related call.
The main area of interest was national security checks. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, businesses closed their doors. State police visited these places as a safety measure.
“I wouldn’t say (Philipsburg) is a sleepy town for us,” Hartsock said. “It’s a place we talk about regularly at the barracks.