A Lehigh Valley Native’s Perspective On Crime in Philadelphia

    By: Alicia Green

    Surprisingly, Philadelphia Seems To Be The Safe Zone!

    This past week a young couple, identified as Blake Bills, 24, and Shayna Sykes, 23, both of Macungie, Pa., (near my hometown, Bethlehem), faced numerous charges in two states including driving under the influence, aggravated assault and theft after a wild stolen vehicle chase.

    More specifically, Bills was charged with driving under the influence, fleeing and eluding police, reckless endangerment of a person, receiving stolen property, risking a catastrophe and resisting arrest. Sykes was charged with driving under the influence, eluding and fleeing police, theft of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, unauthorized use, reckless endangerment of a person, two counts of aggravated assault and resisting arrest. The couple injured numerous pedestrians and police officers in their attempts to escape, and eventually were captured and taken into custody. After their arrest, a Philadelphia police officer was quoted saying, “Clearly, we believe drugs were involved.”

    This story caught my interest for a couple reasons.

    First, the whole story hit close to home! Not only were Bills and Sykes from the Lehigh Valley (where I grew up), but also the drug- induced couple led the stolen car chase into Northern Liberties, Philadelphia – my current neighborhood. The Philadelphia police cornered Sykes a mere 5 blocks from my house after she hit several cars; someone knocked the right mirror off my car on Tuesday night. Coincidence?

    The story also peeked my curiosity because it was not the first time I have heard about people my age, from my area committing crimes while under the influence of drugs. I wonder why the Lehigh Valley seems to be so jaded with heavy drug use? A fair amount of my peers from high school fell into hard drug addiction after graduation, which resulted in their arrests – and in the worst-case scenarios, their deaths. From the “popular” kids to the “brainiacs” in my high school, it seemed like everyone was experimenting with harder substances.

    I feel like every time I turn around, I am hearing about another high school peer who has developed a heroin or cocaine problem and is suffering from the horrible life altering effects of drug addiction. With that said, I have met people from all walks of life in Philadelphia, but have not been exposed to any drug use. What’s the deal, Lehigh Valley?

    When I first moved to Philadelphia I was frightened by the horrible reputation the city has earned. However, now that I have lived here for a couple of months, I am beginning to wonder if the Lehigh Valley is just as bad?

    Read more about the drug addicted Macungie couples heist here:

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