Suburban decay

Others complain of graffiti on utility poles and youths roaming the streets at night or congregating after dark in the nearby Maple Ridge Park.

Lt. Thomas Heffernan of the Bethlehem Police Department, who met recently with concerned homeowners, said a sudden increase in vandalism and other minor crime is not unusual for insulated developments like Haswell and The Enclave.

"What we see is that this is not uncommon with larger developments, and it seems to move from development to development," he said. "Younger families move into them, and then five, 10 years down the road those kids have grown up and they've become your teenagers."

Heffernan mentioned developments like Elm Estates and Surrey Mall as having had similar growing pains in the past.

Residents take complaints to town

About 40 residents of the two neighborhoods, which are connected by streets, recently met with representatives of the police department and town at a recent mid-morning gathering to discuss the concerns. Other worries included the possibility of drug dealing occurring in Maple Ridge Park, with reports of cars meeting up and flashing headlights late at night. (Heffernan said the police department has not received any such reports.)

What the police department has recorded is a total of 51 "quality of life" calls over the past two years. The majority " 30 " of these calls were for criminal mischief, which would include vandalism and the like, but there are also crimes like aggravated harassment, larceny, possession of marijuana and trespassing that have allegedly occurred in the area. Six of these cases remain open.

Police said these figures are not unusually high for an area of the size of Haswell and The Enclave. The figures don't include calls reporting suspicious persons, which police said have increased as of late.

More than a nuisance

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