The crime rate in the City of Allentown continued to fall in 2014.
Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald announced the decline today at a news conference in City Council Chambers called to release the Police Department’s 2014 Annual Report. It shows Uniform Crime Report Part I Offenses down 10.33% and Part II Offenses down 3.38% from 2013. Part I Offenses have declined from 7176 in 2006 to 4452 in 2014, or just about 31%. 2014 matches 2001-2002 as the lowest period of violent crime in the city over the last 15 years.
“The numbers reflect that initiatives we have undertaken are taking a bite out of crime,” said Pawlowski. “Targeted enforcement, new training procedures, better tools and new technology are making the men and women of our department more effective and more efficient than ever.”
According to Fitzgerald, “It was important to maximize the levels of effort and productivity that we got from every member of the organization. We challenged ourselves to be creative, promoted community problem solving, and it went a long way with members of our community.”
Fitzgerald addressed fiscal aspects of policing by saying, “The reality is that it’s difficult to saturate problem areas with officers when budgets are lean, so proactive policing had to take a different form. We placed greater emphasis on the use of intelligence, reevaluated our deployment strategies, and emphasized collaboration with community groups to harden them against crime.”
The report includes Part I and violent and property crime trends dating back to 2000. It breaks down Part 1 crimes in each of the four Police Service Areas (PSA’s) and shows a map of each area. Part I Crime is down significantly in each of the four PSA’s in the city.
The Communications Center fielded more than 208,000 telephone calls and dispatched more than 158,000 incidents. Nearly 124,000 calls were for police service in 2014.
The city has been rebuilding its police department since 54 officers were lost to retirement at the end of 2005. The city now has 207 officers and is hiring more to reach the budgeted compliment of 222 officers.
The city now has 144 cameras in its surveillance network and seven more are being added. Camera operators in the Allentown Communications Center regularly monitor and record activity in public areas and also monitor particular areas in response to emergency calls. City cameras generated 593 calls for service from monitoring of the network at the Center in 2014.
The 54-page annual report is believed to be the first of its kind issued by the department. Copies are available at City Hall and will be presented to neighborhood organizations registered with the city.