Burglaries still a big problem in Bethlehem

January 13, 2011 2:41:18 PM PST
Police in Bethlehem recently launched an initiative in response to a 32% increase in burglaries over this time last year.

But with several more burglaries reported, it seems the criminals are not getting the message.

"We've identified some areas where we were having significantly more burglaries and we've concentrated our patrol efforts in those areas," said Commissioner Stuart Bedics of the Bethlehem Police Department.

More than 40 burglaries have been reported over the past four weeks and three more have been reported since this past weekend.

The majority occurred in South Bethlehem in and around Lehigh University. The most common items stolen are laptops, gaming systems, and cash.

"It's getting pretty bad. I mean, this is a nice town, a family town. But, I guess we've got bad people coming in," said Jose Caragena of Bethlehem.

Investigators say these thieves know that many of the students are still on winter break, making their apartments easy targets.

As a result more Lehigh University students are requesting house checks while they are away. During a normal school year, police would receive about two dozen such requests. So far this school year, they've received nearly 100.

Now, local police officials are looking for help from the people of Bethlehem.

"Too often I've heard of crimes being committed - either burglaries or robberies - and somebody had seen something suspicious but didn't think it was important enough to call us or didn't want to get involved," said Bedics.

Anyone with information about this crime spree is asked to call Bethlehem City Police at (610) 691-6660.