Easton Safer Despite Record Killings, Mayor Says

Violent crime dropped in city in 2012, the same year as a 'historic' number of homicides.

Despite a "historic" number of homicides last year, Easton was a safer place in 2012, Mayor Sal Panto said Wednesday.

Panto addressed the city's record six killings in his annual state of the city address, saying that crime actually dropped in Easton last year.

Violent crimes went down 14 percent, the mayor said, with overall crime declining by 16 percent.

Of the six killings last year, police have identified suspects in four cases. One of those four—the death of Matthew Kelly—was ruled self-defense last week by a Northampton County grand jury.

Panto used much of the addresses to review signficant city accomplishments of 2012:

  • The arrival of new restaurants like Mesa and Casera.
  • New events downtown like the comedy night, polar plunge and Hispanic heritage festival.
  • The opening of the Pomeroy building. ("Seven mayors tried, but our team, we succeeded.") Panto also noted that the Cheeburger, Cheeburger restaurant chain had signed a lease to rent part of the Pomeroy space Wednesday.

The mayor also praised the city's volunteers for their work on projects like the Easton Farmers' Market, and the city's first responders for their work during Hurricane Sandy.

"I watched our firefighters fight a fire in 70 mph wind," he said.

Jimmy Madden March 28, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Maybe I am just still a little too new to Easton but, 6 homicides is not all that bad compared to other small cities around the United States. Homicide is a terrible crime and 0 would have been an awesome number to have but, this a'int Pleasantville. Crime rate has also dropped which is good no matter how you look at it. I take pride knowing the current city I live in has more new events, festivals and just something to do most nights of the week. Most disagree with Panto but you cant disagree with dropping crime rate.
Tom Adams March 28, 2013 at 01:17 AM
True Jimmy and our city is definetly cleaner and safer. Residents' taxes have remained level and he has balanced budgets by making the cuts needed and the efficiencies better. Plus the additional 11 police officers and 2 firefighters were hired without increasing the costs to us. I believe he cares more than any mayor we have had and you can't put a cop on every corner. Drugs are ruining America and these young people just don't get it. And it always amazes me that when someone is killed he "was such a nice boy, everybody likes him." Kepp up the good work mayor and we kept you out of the county race now stay out of the school district. we need you.
Jimmy Madden March 28, 2013 at 03:01 AM
Did the mayor make any comments about what to look forward to in 2013? Could his speech be summed up as a year in review for 2012?
Tom Coombe (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 03:12 AM
There was a lot of talk about staying the course financially. One new thing is the city's plan to actually build some new homes, as opposed to the rehab projects they've been doing.
Ronnie DelBacco March 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Panto still isn't giving financial credit to the City Manager, the guy doing the real work. Panto comes out, gives a speech, collects some praise, and walks away without mentioning the City Manager. Shameless.
Amend March 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Actually, that role is divided into two positions. Glenn Steckman is the City Administrator and Chris Heagle is the Director of Finance.
Tom Coombe (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 12:35 PM
The mayor said more than once in the speech that he can't take credit for any progress the city makes, and that it's the work of his "team."
Jimmy Madden March 28, 2013 at 01:05 PM
What would financial credit do for the City Manager/Managers? Why would they need a line of credit? Help me understand.
Ronnie DelBacco March 28, 2013 at 01:32 PM
Jimmy, not a line of credit, accolades for doing the hard work. Tom and Amend, Steckman and Heagle should be recognized more often by name. Proclaiming just "my team" marginalizes the hard work of the few doing it and promotes those who have little to do with it. Panto should use their names specifically when proclaiming any victory so that voters who don't follow the details every day will at least hear the names of those actually doing the work. Panto can be the ceremonial mayor, but the workers doing the heavy lifting should not be ignored by him in public speeches..
Amend March 28, 2013 at 03:32 PM
@Ronnie- how much did you pay for the beef? Seriously, we get it. You don't like Panto. I'm guessing you voted for Krill in the last election then?
Ronnie DelBacco March 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Amend, Thanks for the chuckle. I almost never drink except for the occasional frosty brew with my steak when dining out. And yes, I proudly voted for Mike Krill. BTW, Happy Easter to you.
Tom Coombe (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 03:58 PM
This is the trouble writing about a speech. You can't print the whole thing word for word. But I know Chris Heagle was mentioned by name. Can't tell you about Steckman for sure.
blame game March 28, 2013 at 04:03 PM
So, let me get this straight... Dogs get rained on in a temporary shelter, someone gets cited for blocking a sidewalk, the wrong herbicide is used on weeds by the river, parking meters are too high, someone gets shot, etc., and it's Sal's fault because he is the mayor and should be held accountable. But the city is able to report some fiscal victories on the books and he is being blamed for taking too much credit for the hard work of those he is tasked with managing? I would vote for him again just for having the patience for putting up with attitudes like that. Maybe you need a few more drinks. Too funny!
Ronnie DelBacco March 28, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Blame Game, Come on, I never said it was all Panto's fault. Everyone knows all the world's ills are still Bush's fault. I think I'll have a beer to go along with my beef...as Amend suggested. :)
Ronnie DelBacco March 28, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Tom, Point taken. Can you link to audio?
Moving forward March 28, 2013 at 04:27 PM
The city is definitely cleaner and safer downtown but has anyone really ventured out beyond DOWNTOWN?? The streets are so badly in need of repair ... Violent crime is down but what about the non- violent crimes ? That's ok? People need to report what they see and there's plenty going on beyond DOWNTOWN !
Amend March 28, 2013 at 04:38 PM
@Ronnie- so, was that a vote along party lines or did you truly believe that Mr. Krill was the better candidate, and if so, what what of his platform were you in support of? Beef and beer is a good combo. Happy Easter to you as well.
blame game March 28, 2013 at 04:41 PM
True, you never said anything was his fault. But what we read in various blogs and social networking sites is that there are a lot of people with loud voices who love to point the finger at Sal when the city gets a black eye, because he is the face out front. However, when the city has something good to say and Sal is again out front, he i still taking hits because some feel he is trying to take credit (which you did say). If you read some of his rebuttles, Sal will own up to everything that happens while he is here. (good or bad) A good manager or leader will not single out members of his team if he intends his team to keep operating as a successful unit. Good or Bad. Yes, I can agree that he has a huge ego, but in the end, running a city is team effort. Even the financial guys can't succeed unless everyone actually follows the plans they lay down, and that won't happen without the mayor's backing.
Ronnie DelBacco March 28, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Amend, I'm not a party line voter. I voted for Dan Corporra as I plan to do again this year. I've voted for Bob Freeman in the past before I realized how far left and progressive he really is, and a few assorted others too. You'll be surprised to know that I was a registered democrat out of high school. Then I started paying attention and realized my core beliefs more closely aligned with conservatives, who used to be found in the republican party. My support of Mike Krill was mostly because I really liked that he wanted to focus on the residents in the neighborhoods...much like Kim Yedlosky has stated in her campaign announcement. Believe it or not, I actually wasn't voting against Panto, but FOR krill.
Tom Coombe (Editor) March 28, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Non violent crime went down as well
Ronnie DelBacco March 28, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Blame Game, We'll agree that Panto's ego is huge, and I'll concede that he's not my favorite politician. You do make good points about team work, but that mantra only seems to be acceptable in Easton when the nepotists...uh, I mean democrats are in control.
Amend March 28, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Krill might have talked about helping the neighborhoods, but he had no solid plans for how to accomplish that goal. Talk is cheap. He had no history of leadership to back up any of his positions.
Rita Chesterton March 28, 2013 at 07:10 PM
If a person (single senior) wanted to move to Easton, which neighborhoods would you recommend for home purchase, or even rental?
Open arms March 28, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Depends on what your expectations and resources are. Easton has a lot to offer. If you want to get a feel for it first, an easy rental is the 3rd street apartments at spring garden. There are a lot of nice smaller single homes near the courthouse at reasonable prices. If you don't mind highway noise, there are a couple nice homes on Bushkill st at sitgreaves. If you want to look down on the city, try college hill.
Jimmy Madden March 29, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Very well said @open arms. I wanted to reply to this thread when i read it during my lunch break but, you beat me to it. Could have not said it any better myself. On a different note...@ Ronnie...I read your post quite often and notice your "beef" with Panto. What would you do differently then the Mayor? Could you fill his shoes for a term? This is no way a slight towards you I am just a curious citizen. You strike as someone who knows what is going on in the city. Enlighten me in your "what if" scenario.
Ronnie DelBacco March 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM
I'd be glad to expound on my vision if I ever decide to run for mayor. As is true of any elected position, there is always more that a candidate learns once elected than he or she could have possibly known while running for the position. I'd be happy to talk with you privately about what I think needs to be done, because anything I say here will never get a fair critique or consideration. I have been a harsh critic of Sal Panto mostly along ideological terms. I view individual rights, fiscal responsibility, and very limited government as core values of good governance. In my opinion, Sal does not.
Rita Chesterton March 29, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Thank you, however none of these offer one-story living (a preference I failed to point out in my initial posting). Yes, an apt inside a multi-story bldg could be called one-story living, but those are usually quite small. With so many Boomers coming down the pike, it's a shame builders did not get ahead of the curve and coonstruct new neighborhoods with homes for independent living. I'm not talking about 55+ communities per se. Most of those developments are far too costly ($225,000 and up for a sm two bedroom semi-attached unit, in most cases... often with hefty monthly maintenance fees). They also come with a lot of 'rules.' Personally, I would like to see architecturally smart single homes for seniors that are reasonably priced for either purchase or rent. No one in later years wants to look out onto a sea of parking lots; no one wants to squeeze into a generic box with two tiny bedrooms that leave no room for an 'active interest hobby.' I also feel that seniors (below a certain income level) who own a home or carrying a mortgage (after the age of 65) should not be required to pay the 'school tax' portion of their property tax. I'm nearly 70 and still paying on a mortgage. My property tax bill takes a huge bite out of my SS income... so much so that I might be forced to sell my home (in NJ)...and move to PA. Seniors need a break. Where will the lost school revenue come from? Afraid I don't have an answer for that... but maybe someone else does?
Open arms March 31, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Ok Rita, your preference does present a unique challenge but not impossible. What you won't find, is that type of dwelling within city limits. Easton is a very old community. While its active residents are forward thinkers, they are also historically responsible. One specific neighborhood does come to mind. Woodridge Terrace in nearby Palmer township. It is a very senior friendly location. The only down side is that it is not that close to downtown. Other than something like that, you will need to look at future projects like the Silk Mill.
Rita Chesterton March 31, 2013 at 04:57 PM
I'd LOVE to live at the Silk Mill.... my mother worked there as a loom operator throughout the 1950s and '60s. Loft style living at the Mill will likely attract a mix of artists, independent thinkers, young people, and age deniers, as well (ha!).


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