BETHLEHEM, Pa. - There was a jump in the number of arrests during Musikfest in Bethlehem in 2014.
In total, there were 41 Musikfest-related arrests, according to Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio. That's up from the 34 arrests reported by police in 2013.
During this year's event, there were violent incidents near the festival involving gunfire in the area of Main Street. These included a double-shooting and another incident of shots fired. Both incidents of gunfire happened as Musikfest was still letting out for the night. No one was killed in any of the shootings.
"2014 was a challenging year for Bethlehem Police at Musikfest," DiLuzio said. "Other then the normal altercations between people, some intoxicated individuals, there were several serious incidents in Bethlehem near Musikfest. None of these were on the festival grounds. One was a bank robbery during the day. The bank robber was quickly apprehended within five hours of the robbery by Bethlehem detectives and officers after a chase. The other two incidents were caused by issues that some individuals and groups had prior to Musikfest. These individuals and groups happen to see each other in the area of Musikfest and two major altercations occurred involving firearms. The two aggravated assaults that occurred involved two juveniles that were arrested; one struck an adult with brass knuckles and the other was intoxicated and spit body fluid on a city paramedic attempting to treat him."
Despite the gunfire and other violent incidents that happened near Musikfest this year, DiLuzio said Musikfest shouldn't be blamed for the violence.
"Incidents like these occur every week in the Lehigh Valley, not just at Musikfest or near Musikfest," DiLuzio said. "These incidents of violence are a product of our current society, the acceptance of a thug culture and the breakdown of societal norms. They occur every day across our country."
DiLuzio said police and other emergency personnel are always in position in and around Musikfest to "handle any type of incident that arises."
"The approach is simple; a joint coordinated effort to ensure that if a incident occurs, a direct and immediate response is followed," DiLuzio said. "Most issues at Musikfest are minor and simple; a bee sting, sick persons, heart issues, too much to drink, injures, and some physical altercations."
Allentown, PA 18102