(Editor’s note: We’ve compiled all the tips from the meeting in a separate document that we link to throughout the article)
More than three dozen Upper Saucon residents gathered at the township municipal building Wednesday night to move toward initiating a neighborhood crime watch in each development as well as listen to safety experts discuss preventative measures.
This was the second meeting for the group, which first met March 2 after Upper Saucon resident John Kukitz’s home was broken into. “They kicked in my door,” said Kukitz. “They only got one jewelry box, but there were items in it from my father and grandfather that I wanted to pass on to my sons."
Kukitz wasn’t the only one whose properties were burglarized recently.
“Last year, there were 42 burglaries in Upper Saucon Township,” said Cpl. Ed Hartman. “This year, we’re on track to meet or surpass that number.” While several recent news reports have shown violent crime is down overall, that number doesn’t apply to burglaries and thefts. “The truth is that violent crime in Allentown may be down, but non-violent crime, like burglaries, is on the rise in surrounding municipalities. Unfortunately, that [includes Upper Saucon],” said Hartman.
The majority of the meeting focused on crime prevention tips, given by guest speakers Ron Neimeyer, a 25-year veteran of the Allentown police department and a former Lehigh County sheriff, and Heidi Carr of A&B Lock and Safe Co.
Neimeyer, who now works for Altronics Security Systems, and Carr stressed the importance of preventative measures to deter burglars from the start.
“A burglar doesn’t want to work to get into your house,” said Neimeyer.
Carr agreed. “When you’re looking at home security, you have to understand what you’re buying is time.”
And with statistics showing the average home invasion happens in approximately eight minutes, Hartman stressed that watching out for your neighbors is key.
“Look out your window. If something looks suspicious, call us. We want you to call us,” said Hartman. “Knowing your neighbor and your neighborhood will help prevent break-ins. Unfortunately, we don't live in Mayberry.”
Neimeyer agreed. “Having a good police department is the bottom line. The best thing [Upper Saucon] has going for it is a good police department. Lehigh Valley is blessed with the kind of police force that goes out and patrols.”
The neighborhood crime watch group plans to meet again to continue to organize in each subdivision. “We hope to have a representative from every neighborhood in Upper Saucon,” Kukitz said. “Upper Saucon is a great place to live, and we’d like to keep it that way.”
The next meeting will be at 7 pm on May 4.