If it seems like there are a lot more shootings in Allentown this year it's because there are. Allentown police say in the first half of this year, there have been 49 instances in which somebody has either been shot or had a gun pulled on them. That's almost a 277% increase from the same time period in 2018 and 16 more incidents than in all of 2018. The city reported 56 of these types of crimes in 2017, 83 in 2016 and 59 in 2015.
Tempers flared at Wednesday night's Allentown City Council meeting. The issue was the recent rash of shootings in the city. Some residents told council the problem is the police department. "We need new leadership in the Allentown police department and you all know it," one resident told City Council. Mayor Ray O'Connell says the city has more manpower on the streets in an effort to curb the violence. More than two dozen people have been shot since the beginning of June.
A baby and three developmentally disabled adults are safe after accidentally being trapped in a car in Bethlehem Township. Temperatures were already in the 80s Wednesday morning when a woman left her key fob inside the vehicle along with her infant child and the adults, all part of a residential group home. The car then locked itself and due to its features couldn't be opened until firefighters arrived and punctured a window. All four people inside the vehicle were okay and the caretaker is not being charged.
The Lehigh County District Attorney is investigating after an inmate died in custody. 20-year-old Dawson Thomas was found unresponsive in his cell Tuesday night and was taken to the hospital but couldn't be saved. An autopsy was performed Wednesday to determine the cause of his death, but the results have not been announced.
After 17 days, a dog that was missing since being involved in a fatal I-78 crash in Berks County has now been found. Ava, a nearly pure white American husky, is back home after being missing since the June 29th crash about two miles west of the Lehigh County border. Ava's owner, was seriously injured and that woman's husband and son both died in the crash. A Kentucky man faces numerous charges stemming from the crash.
Commonwealth flags will fly at half-staff today in honor of a police officer shot in the line of duty. Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered the flags be flown as such until sunset in honor of Pittsburgh policeman Calvin Hall, who was shot early Sunday but died from his wounds on Wednesday. The United States flag will remain at full staff throughout the day.
New Jersey's Office of the Attorney General is legally going to have to survey all the current untested sexual assault examination kits. Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation into law Wednesday that mandates the survey must then be summarized and submitted to both his office and the state Legislature. The survey will also serve as a review of agency policies and procedures in concern to how kits are submitted for testing, among other related information. Murphy says the survey will provide a clear picture on how rape kits are logged, tracked and stored while guiding decisions toward future actions.