A falling crime rate is invariably cited by those who claim there is light at the end of the Allentown tunnel. And The Morning Call dutifully reports the undeniable facts in its "Image Overhaul" piece, carefully adding that "the city had a record-tying 21 homicides last year and violent crime has doubled since the early 1990s."
So, is crime really down in Allentown? Sadly, the answer is no.
Using the same Pennsylvania State Police data relied on by Allentown cheerleaders, it appears that last year's Allentown crime rate was just 0.02% lower than its average over the past eight years.
This is evidence of a falling crime rate? It appears more like a manipulation of numbers. If you just compare 2006 with 2007, there was a five percent crime drop in Easton last year.
It's absurd to conclude that "crime is down" based on just two years of data. Want an example? According to PSP data, Nazareth's crime dropped a whopping 27% in 2007. But in 2007, Nazareth's police chief passed away after a lengthy illness and the department was rudderless.
Few would seriously argue that Nazareth or Easton took a big bite out of crime in 2007, and it's dangerously misleading to make that representation about Allentown.