"How about Baghdad?"
Allentonians are a divided group. On one side, there's Team Hilliard, which has challenged nearly every initiative, often in court. On the other side are those who believe Pawlowski can do no wrong. I suspect both sides are right and wrong. It's been a great debate.
But there's a third group that bothers the hell out of me. These are the elitists who insist we look at their city through rose colored glasses. The most extreme of these actually suggested we rename the Lehigh Valley the "Valley of Allentown." At the same time, those who feed the homeless are incredibly snarked as "dogooders" who "often do harm to society (especially our cities)." After being nauseated by those incredibly pompous remarks, Bill's column was a breath of fresh air.
But is Bill being too negative about the Queen City? Is Bethlehem or Easton just as bad as Allentown? Let's look at the cold hard facts.
If you compare Allentown to Bethlehem and Easton, the Lehigh Valley's two other cities, Allentown has the highest crime rate. That's just the way it is. Bethlehem's crime rate is below the national average in nearly every category, unlike Allentown.
In Easton, it's much closer, but Allentown still gets the edge.
So in the Valley of Allentown, the Queen City is our smelly armpit, like it or not. But that doesn't make Allentown a cesspool. Nearby Reading, in Berks County, actually makes Allentown look like paradise.
Allentown is actually amazingly similar to slightly larger Hartford, Connecticut, in crime statistics. Both cities are about the same distance from New York City.
Allentown is definitely the most crime-ridden city in the Lehigh Valley. But if you compare it with other similar cities, its crime problem is nothing unusual.