Jul 12, 2017

Allentown's Urban Woes

Allentown has been waking up to a new shooting or stabbing practically every day. We're now talking about trying neighborhood policing.  It is nothing new,  going back to the Heydt and Afflerbach administrations, with officers assigned to different districts in the city.  At one point they actually had neighborhood offices from which the officers worked, when not out talking with members of the community.

One thing is apparent, something new needs to be tried, even if it has been done before.  We know from recent experience that having a police chief of color, in itself, makes no difference.

As someone who visits Hamilton Street several times each week,  despite the arena and all the new buildings, there is less activity there than ever.  Unless, and until Allentown can appear safe there will be no meaningful revitalization.  This is the urban dilemma of our times, not unique to Allentown.


Scott Armstrong said...


The police/policing are only part of any plan to reduce crime, the other effort must be to turn around our blighted high crime neighborhoods. Ed has turned his back on these areas during his entire tenure as mayor. Rather surprising when we remember him riding into town as a low income housing advocate. Now we understand he was always a phony.
That said, the city has the tools to address blight if they would choose to use them; code, health, and zoning, should be beefed up and directed to address the issues that fall under their purview in our income areas.
One must conclude Ed is really not interested in ending blight and reducing poverty in the city. Sad because those hurt the most by this neglect are the poor themselves. The same people he pretends to champion every time he needs votes.

george schaller said...

Wasn't one of his campaign quotes about turning his slumlordian campaign couterparts tenaments back into single home dwellings in its own quaility of life blight? I said it before and I'll say it again it is just a cardboard cutout circus carnival stick and literaily its work amounts to such!

michael molovinsky said...

scott@7:17, your reply is somewhat political. in my experience you can address blight by code, making building owners put on fresh lipstick every day, but that won't address the crime issue.

over two decades ago allentown created a poverty magnet, as i explained in my 2005 independent effort. the morning call deemed my message at that time too politically incorrect. i suppose the less acclimated now among us can be re- educated into better citizens, but it will be a long process, independent of who is mayor or what party he belongs to.

Jamie Kelton said...

The poverty magnet was a result of the middle class leaving Allentown. But it's not just Allentown, all you have to do is look around at other similar-sized cities.

You commented that the "less acclimated now among us can be re- educated into better citizens", but the question is, do they want to be? As long as the incentives are there to live with federal government support and SNAP cards to fill their stomachs, why should they make the effort ?

Scott Armstrong said...


I suggested what I know works here in West Park. You are correct there are larger issues at work here that involve state and federal solutions. Not holding my breath for those.

TRENT HALL said...

The poverty magnet "was the result of the middle class leaving Allentown." They didn't leave because they wanted to......they left because the union busting/economic polices of mainly Republican administrations, starting with Reagan, combined with similar "trickle down" Republican Governors in Harrisburg, resulted in the mass migration/loss of middle class jobs to non-union southern states and overseas locations. And yes, Democratic Administrations did little to curb the flight, fearful of imposing tariff retaliation because of the concern trade wars would only worsen the overall situation. Big business ensures we have the best state legislatures and federal Congress money can buy.

No one can afford to rent a decent apartment, much less purchase a home, or support a family, on a 40 hour minimum wage job....that's less than $17K a year. Yet, Republicans tell us raising the rate to any near a living wage would "discourage the job creators" to hire. Give me a break. Blight & crime are a predictable consequence of poverty & sub wages. If decent paying jobs existed, the neighborhoods would return to vibrancy.

An ice berg the size of Delaware just broke off in the Antarctic.....Trump says it is not because of fake "climate change"......rather, it is just moving, like everybody else should, to the coal counties producing jobs he has created.

JoshLCowen said...

Same old same old. Until we change the culture of fatherless families we will see on improvement. But we still enable relatively easy lives to those who just drop their offspring on the taxpayer. We pay millions for schools they won't attend and then wonder why they are hanging out on street corners. Back to the basics of raising families that have work in humankind for thousands of years and we'll be a lot better off.