Jan 26, 2024

Allentown's Resignation To Crime

I do not believe that Mayor Tuerk and Chief Roca announcing the installation of gun shot detectors reassured too many citizens.  It seems that we have sub-contracted out the crime problem. I suppose the detectors will tell Promise Neighborhoods where they have to assign more mentors.

Tuerk is proving to have the wrong stuff for the job. Reilly's NIZ has so far escaped any serious crime in the Strata complexes. The Morning Call continues to cherry pick nice editorials, avoiding my ilk. Nevertheless, the evenings and weekends do not reflect a $Billion Dollars of taxpayer investment...it remains the valley's dead zone.

While I'm not sure how much stouter police enforcement would help, I know that the current plans are a case study in failure.



  1. The gunshot doctors will help the APD send a police car to where the shooting occurred, but won't stop the shootings.

    Additional manpower on the streets will deter the shootings, but additional police cost more money than the gunshot detectors.

  2. Not that our reputation for crime isn't already out there but seriously! what sort of a message does gunshot detectors everywhere send to non residents in town for business or pleasure, potential home buyers, or businesses thinking of relocating here?
    Scott Armstrong

  3. We should all at least be relieved he didn't spend hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars to hire consultants to come up with this Gun detector solution...or did he?

  4. LehighValleyNews.com was the only outlet to correctly report the new gunshot detection system will cover just one square mile of the city.
    Putting gunshot-detection devices throughout Allentown would “be fantastic … if resources were infinite,” Tuerk said.
    What's the point of using this system for just one square mile? Seems like a massive waste of money, especially when heat has been out at the APD for a month!

    1. When they built the city hall/police station complex they installed a new tech geothermal heat system. Architects go wild with public money.

  5. I have often stated, a reporter from any major newspaper could easily win a Pulitzer Prize by presenting a detailed investigative piece on the failed Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

    Abuses of taxpayer dollars similar to our NIZ are put into place all across the nation. The Allentown example could possibly be the Granddaddy of Them All. Seriously, what happened here is a stunning example of politics gone wrong. The fleecing of every Pennsylvania citizen.

    1. I agree with you. Unfortunately the financial numbers from the NIZ will never be public knowledge. With a board that is controlled by one person and culturally based rather than financial it’s all just good news followed by good news. With our ex-state senator Browne now protecting the state’s finances the real numbers will never see the light of day. There are no investigating reporters in the Lehigh valley and the Morning Call can’t even do accurate first-person reporting on City Hall meetings. Common’ down and see the new downtown you helped build, but you probably shouldn’t get out of your car.

  6. Probably the reason the Strata complex has not seen any serious crime is that Reilly has his own security force patrolling it. Nothing deters crime better than boots on the ground actively patrolling.

  7. Although I am a proponent for cameras everywhere in the public domain, if the cameras really are only covering one square mile for the 600K cost maybe hiring one police officer for 10 years at the about the equivalent cost to cover that same area might make more sense.

    1. If you think a police officer only costs the city $60k/yr you are dreaming.

  8. If I read the article correctly, the program is grant funded. Most of the time, grants are made for specific proposals. I doubt there was an option to apply to fund more officers.

    1. The grant is form the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency which means it is state tax dollars. As such, one would think the residents and taxpayers of Allentown should be able to say that they would prefer more police officers on the ground than an after-the-fact detection system.

    2. We don't have a voice... they only want us to think we have a voice. Things are planned behind closed doors and we are asked after the fact if it's OK, but, as we've seen numerous times before, they do exactly as they please and to hell with the taxpayers that fund their fiascos.
      It wouldn't make sense to allow the police to do their jobs, but I digress, this is still all part of the plan(s) that we, the funders, have little, to no, say about. After all, they know best... NOT!!!

    3. michael molovinsky (7:48 AM) said:

      “When they built the city hall/police station complex they installed a new tech geothermal heat system. Architects go wild with public money.”

      Wait. I just heard a news story that the police station hasn’t had heat for a month and that it might be fixed in TWO weeks. We just had record cold and the officers have been using space heaters.

      Is that the system that isn’t working? Is that why it’s going to take six weeks to get their heat repaired in the winter?

      If so, is this the future green energy proponents are planning for us?

    4. Anonymous 9:36 AM said:

      “Although I am a proponent for cameras everywhere in the public domain…”

      While I’ve read (and reread) this comment hoping it was sarcasm, I’m not finding it.

      Wanting to be under government surveillance everywhere you go is Orwellian and irrational. While some (like 9:36) might think that’s desirable, many others see it as creepy and a sign that where you are really isn’t safe.

      America should not be a police state where your every move is tracked and recorded by the government. Nor should our cities be allowed to become de facto prisons where our liberties are sacrificed for a false promise of safety.

      Too many people seem to think that government surveillance is a path to safety. It’s not.

      If you don’t believe me, take a tour of a state prison. The government has massive surveillance systems there but I doubt many of us would really feel safer (or safe at all).

      In reality, the installation of shot spotters and more cameras is just another sign that Allentown is failing. I’d be willing to bet that this same system has already been tried in many other cities and that hasn’t made them more desirable to live in or visit. City Hall is doing is just wasting more grant money (also known as our money) to seem like they’re doing something about crime.

    5. Anon 7:41 said: “…the new gunshot detection system will cover just one square mile of the city.”

      Instead of installing a system to detect gunshots after they are fired, wouldn’t it be better to focus current city resources on problem areas and solve the root of the problems before the shooting starts?

      How do you do that?

      Get residents and businesses owners involved and let them know how they can report problems anonymously and/or without fear of retribution. Then SHOW THEM that you really mean it by backing it up with real and continuous ACTION.

      Saturate the area with extra police patrols. Get code enforcement to go after problem properties and businesses to get them up to standard. Respond promptly and enforce quality-of-life complaints like noise, parking and other such issues.

      RAISE the standard and let everyone know that even minor infractions will no longer be allowed.

      Make those contemplating committing crimes uncomfortable, and harshly prosecute those who actually do. Move the criminal element along one way or another.

      Be consistent and send a CLEAR message about what the city will tolerate.

      Unfortunately, the only message that is being sent by the “Shot Spotter” system is that this is an unsafe area, but at least we care enough to try to snap a photo of your shooter after you’re shot.

  9. I find it ironic that some people believe that having cameras deterring miscreants from committing a crime is going to lead to a "police state" more so than having actual police flood our streets. Not to mention how cost prohibitive having a police officer for every sq. mile of the city. I also don't understand the logic that cameras are worthless because they are only a tool used after the criminal act is committed when in most cases a police officer is serving the same purpose, which is catching the criminal after the fact.
    I do agree that actually enforcing the laws, especially double parking while making conversation with people on the sidewalk among others , would help decrease the feeling this is an "anything goes" town. Maybe they could designate a few officers for this specific duty every month for this specific duty which should, at best, pay for a few yearly salaries of an officer within a month, and at worst, stop the scofflaw activities.

  10. 11:12 - Actual police officers are looking for actual criminals. They are not indiscriminately recording (either by photo or video) every person or vehicle in the area, nor are they capable of retaining that information for an infinite amount of time.

    You also seem to believe that cameras will deter a few miscreants from committing crimes. I wholeheartedly disagree.

    Allentown has had a multitude of video cameras throughout downtown for close to two decades, yet crime continues to get worse. They do not deter crime. At best they record it.

    There is no substitute for police on the streets with actual interaction with both criminals and the law abiding. You might wish to delude yourself into believing otherwise. I do not.