EASTON, Pa. -

Nightlife in downtown Easton is on the upswing while crime overall in the city is decreasing, thanks in part to the cooperation of city bars that are backing the idea of stationing a police cruiser in Centre Square on weekends, Police Chief Carl Scalzo told City Council members in a briefing Tuesday night.

“It’s had a good impact,” Scalzo said, referring to the uniformed officer who patrols the Square. “They see the officer there. They know he’s there.”

“It’s worked really, really well,” he said.

Councilman Jeff Warren agreed.

“The dynamic of the downtown has changed significantly,” Warren said.

Scalzo said he did not have crime statistics on hand but told council members crime was down so far this year.

As for street gangs, Scalzo said he was certain the city has Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, among others, just as in every other city in the Lehigh Valley.

“As soon as we have probable cause, we move to get them off the street,” the chief said.

On a related matter, Scalzo said he hopes legislation is passed in Harrisburg that would permit local police departments to use radar guns to catch speeders.

He said radar guns, which only state police are currently allowed to use, would be a useful tool for local police.

Council members also heard about the state of the city’s fire department from Chief John Bast.

Three members of the department have completed fire investigation training, thanks to a $30,000 grant, he said.

Another $50,000 grant was used for rescue certification training, and 97 percent of the department has completed that training, he said.

The department, along with Wilson Fire Department and the West Easton Fire Department, is seeking a $1 million grant to upgrade breathing apparatus used by firefighters at the scene of fires.