Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem police step up patrols near Lehigh University

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Bethlehem police say extra officers are patrolling this weekend in the area around Lehigh University after more than four dozen college students were arrested last weekend for underage drinking and other alcohol-related offenses at an off-campus location.

"You always think you are invincible when you are young until something happens," said Sean Montross who lives near Lehigh University.

Last weekend 56 people were cited for underage drinking and other offenses on East Fifth Street in Bethlehem. All 56 people have been identified by Bethlehem police as Lehigh University students.

"Down here at the coffee shop I see so many students that are very hard-workers it just pulls from the academic nature of the establishment there," said Matthew Hengeveld, the owner of LIT Coffee in Bethlehem.

Now more Bethlehem police are on the streets patrolling this weekend, looking out for students and people who live in the neighborhoods around Lehigh University.

"It's really important to keep students safe," said Hengeveld.

"The increased presence I don't think it hurts anyone, if anything, I think it's good for both us and the students," added Montross.

Montross lives a few blocks away from campus. He says unfortunately, underage drinking comes with the territory when you live so close to a university but thinks the proper steps are being taken by police and college officials.

"I think Lehigh has done a lot to crack down, which I think is fantastic. They are fighting it hard. Somebody has got to look out for them because if they weren't well then people would be saying how come nobody is watching. So I think the police presence is a good thing," he said.

Bethlehem police say underage and "extreme" drinking are nationwide issues that have led to deaths and serious injuries to college students. BPD said they are working alongside Lehigh University police to reduce this type of reckless drinking behavior.

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