I have mice in my kitchen. There were signs of a problem, my husband and I ignored them. Our dog kept sniffing around a pantry storage area, we ignored it. One day some walnuts were left out - and disappeared. We became a bit more curious but didn’t really look much. Then, we found the bag of rice with a large hole in it, surrounded by mice droppings. We couldn’t ignore the fact anymore - we have a mice problem in our kitchen.

It happens to many people at sometime. Most houses built in the Civil War era, as ours was, have had mice figure ways in over the decades. Its more of a problem in the Winter when the mice get cold outside and lose food sources.

The question is what to do about it once you find enough clues and admit there is a problem. Can you work with your spouse on the big problem or is there just a bunch of yelling, blaming, finger pointing and no real action?

Some folks just try to keep ignoring it. I remember being at a person’s house years ago where it was common for mice to run around the baseboards in broad daylight. They actually started giving the mice names! Yikes! Other people who have the money to do so may call for outside help via a commercial exterminator.  

The question is “What resources are available to tackle the problem and can we work together to improve the situation.”

My husband and I took action by cleaning up the area together, throwing out the rice and sweeping up the mouse droppings. Then I ordered some mousetraps and got them set up. So far we’ve caught and killed 6 mice with the traps. We found a second bag of rice that had been chewed into in another part of the pantry. There’s more work to do. We’ll keep at it until the traps stay empty.

But there’s no doubt, we were slow to take the problem seriously enough to take the appropriate action.

Why tell you this in an editorial piece? Our Community has a similar situation. But this time it's not mice in the pantry, it’s death on the streets.

The signs are clear enough, people are being shot (or knifed) to death in our community. The top questions may be;

Is this level of violence accepted to the people who live, work and vote here?

Do these crimes of violence disrupt our lives enough to change anything?

Can we ignore the situation?

Can we work together on the issues?

Are there enough resources to improve the situation?

If you think the current level of violence is not tolerable, consider these possible activities:

Attend City Council Meetings (Thursdays at 7 pm, City Hall, West Fourth St., Wmspt), voice your concern about the amount of violence. There is a short time for public comments at the end of the meetings.

Attend City Public Safety Meetings (First Tuesday of the month at Wmspt City Hall, except for January 12, 2016) voice your concern.

Write a letter to the Mayor, Councilpersons, your Commissioners, Pa State Police, Lycoming County DA

Help out at organizations that address crime, education and social issues:

Neighborhood Watch

Williamsport Crime Commission

Shepherd of the Streets

Firetree Place

Big Brothers / Big Sisters

Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts

St. Anthony’s soup kitchen

Lycoming County Family Promise

Church programs

Williamsport YWCA

Yokefellow Prison Ministry  

Crime and poverty are very complex issues. If there were simple solutions, they would have been done long ago.

But if there are mice in the kitchen, they won’t go away on their own.