Serious crime rates plunged dramatically in Lehigh Valley last year

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- The overall rate of serious crimes committed in Allentown has dropped to its lowest level in approximately 20 years in 2018 and one police official says two reasons stick out.

According to Allentown Police Chief Tony Alsleben, the drop in serious crimes are directly related to the department's commitment to intelligence-based policing to track crime and good old-fashioned community policing aimed at getting the people of Allentown involved in keeping the city safe.

"We can only solve a crime if we have the proper information and we have cooperation, and that is something I have really seen increase with our communities," said Alsleben.

And Allentown is not the only municipality enjoying that kind of progress.

In fact, while Allentown's overall serious crime rate fell 16 percent in 2018, the overall serious crime rate in Bethlehem fell 24 percent.

And comparable statistics have been documented in towns all across the region, including Easton, Whitehall and Upper Macungie -- all reporting double-digit decreases in violent crime.

Chief Alsleben says you can dissect the numbers any way you want to but it comes down to the local police officers gaining the trust of the people they serve and protect.

"It goes back to the work that's done on the streets every day by our officers. I mean, they are the face of the department. They're the ones making the connections and they're the ones that set the tone," said Alsleben.

Action News spoke with people who live and work in Allentown, most of whom say the city is on the right track.

"I feel very comfortable walking. We walk to 15th Street at lunch every day and I am enjoying that, and I enjoy the city. I'm excited for it," said Trish Spillman of Allentown.

Mark Gasdaska, who lives in Bethlehem, says, "The revitalization is phenomenal, bringing the right businesses in, the right people into town. It's doing really well for itself."

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