Police probe big jump in Bethlehem burglaries

January 5, 2011 2:53:09 PM PST
Burglars have been busy in Bethlehem and they're not particular about their targets.

Both homes and business have been targeted in the past few weeks.

"We have a baseline approximate number of burglaries that occur, historically, in Bethlehem. We've noticed that number has doubled since November." said Deputy Commissioner Jason Schiffer of the Bethlehem Police.

Schiffer says the concern does not end with the number of burglaries.

"Most of them are occurring in a bold type of fashion with broken windows, pushed-in air conditioners," he said. "Even smashing in doors."

In most cases, the items stolen have been primarily electronics and cash, and these thieves certainly seem to know where to look.

A map of reported burglaries shows a cluster in the southwestern part of the city.

That's an area with a lot of rental units occupied by off-campus Lehigh University students. But students are, by no means, the only targets.

"Some lady came in the other day and said somebody climbed up her balcony and broke into her apartment through her window and stole a bunch of her laptops and other electronic goods," said Graham Tepaola of Bethlehem.

In response, the Bethlehem Police Department had now started what they're calling "saturation patrols" in the areas hardest hit. The patrols include squad cars along with mounted police and even police brass.

Authorities in Bethlehem are urging the public to take common sense precautions such as locking windows and doors and keeping the outside of your home as well-lit as possible.