Reading's bad guys finding new marks in suburbia

Major crime increased by nearly 11 percent last year in Reading, but that's OK because Chief Bill Heim said crime dipped by more than 18 percent the previous year -- down to its lowest level in 19 years.

What should give rise to fear are the remarks by Joseph M. Brown, a West Reading detective and president of the county Fraternal Order of Police. He believes crime has increased outside the city for two reasons: More people are desperate for money because of the sick economy, such as laid-off Reading Eagle employees, and the aggressive police work in the city has pushed some crime into the suburbs.

The city police have been very aggressive in their policing, and that results in criminals looking to find another place to go. There are a lot of criminals who go out into the suburbs and target the large parking lots and shopping centers. What the city is doing has pushed certain types of crime out into the suburbs.

So beware West Reading and Wyomissing and Spring Township and dear, sweet Exeter, where a new shopping mall is just opening up.

To put the crime figures into perspective, the Eagle ran this online chart to clarify what the numbers really mean:

Will the world end on December 21, 2012?