Vehicle Thefts In Reading At 10-Year Low

A decade after vehicle thefts became an epidemic in Reading, police say the crime is on a pace to reach a 10-year low.

As of the end of July, 170 vehicles had been stolen in the city this year, compared to 246 at the same point last year, said Officer Keith Merkel, one of three city policemen assigned full time to a state police regional auto theft task force.

But Merkel isn’t ready to pop champagne corks. He noted August and September were the busiest months for vehicle thefts in the city last year.

While auto thefts have declined locally and nationally in recent years, car thefts actually spiked in Reading in 2012.

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Data Supports Mayor; Crime Down In Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE — Although residents at a council meeting expressed disbelief at Mayor Tom Leighton’s comment crime is down in the city, statistics are on his side.

Data from the Pennsylvania State Police Uniform Crime Reporting System showed a 5.06 percent decrease in known offenses in a year-to-year comparison as of Friday.

Leighton attributed the public’s perception of increased crime to officers making more arrests, and again the reporting system supports him.  There were 811 total arrests as of Friday compared to 798 for June 14, 2012.

The offense and arrest totals do not match up because arrests have yet to be made in many of the reported crimes.

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Crime Has Some Thinking Twice About Philly Life

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BORN-AND-RAISED Philadelphian Danielle Harvey never really saw herself moving away from her hometown.

Then, last spring, she witnessed a shooting at the same bus stop where she had been robbed about a month before.

Harvey, 24, who worked at a law office in Center City, said that she was able to shake off the robbery, in which her phone was stolen and pockets rifled through at a bus stop outside Frankford’s Margaret-Orthodox El station.

“You live in the city, this stuff happens,” she said.  “That made me think this city is getting a little tiring to live in, but I never really imagined myself being somebody who could move.”

Then, about a month later, as she waited at the same bus stop, a man across the street from where she stood was shot in the neck.

“[The shooting] was pretty much the thing that more or less sealed it for me thinking I should get out of here,” she said.

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Crime Stats For Reading Give Some Solace

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A week before a summit to address crime in Reading and Berks County, District Attorney John T. Adams pointed out that Reading is not on a list of the 100 most dangerous cities in the nation.

“This is good news,” Adams said Friday. “We are happy that we are not on the list of the most dangerous cities. I believe this is a result of the cooperative effort among law enforcement agencies.”

But officials said that does not lessen the need for next week’s meeting because the report from indicates that 89 percent of the cities are safer than Reading.

“I do not see this as any great win,” Reading Police Chief William M. Heim said.

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