Community involvement helping crack down on crime in Hazleton

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Community involvement in Hazleton is being credited with helping the police crack down on crime.

Dozens of arrests have been made and large amounts of drugs, weapons, and cash have been seized by law enforcement. The crackdown on crime has been intense in recent months and the police chief says without a doubt people getting involved has helped them catch the bad guys.

“The community has been tremendous,” Hazleton Police Department Chief Jerry Speziale said.

Photos show just a sampling of what Hazleton City Police have seized in the last several months.

“They are sending texts. They are sending anonymous tips. They are sending real information that is yielding real traffickers that we are going after and it’s impacting the drug trade in the city,” Speziale said.

Speziale says a special undercover unit is working the streets using that information and other intelligence from informants.

“We are using empirical data to see how and where these things are occurring in our city. We’ve looked at meth amphetamines, heroin, fentanyl. We pretty much stopped the open air drug markets,” Speziale said.

Vilmarie and Craig Budde work with Crimewatch units in the city.

“You know the cops do a great job. They can’t be everywhere. They can’t see everything that’s going on. They need the public to help to let them know where there are problems, let them know who’s doing, what they shouldn’t be doing,” Craig Budde said.

“It’s a good thing that they’re doing these raids and all they are doing, but the problem is you take two out and you bring in four, you take four out and you bring eight. We’re not getting anywhere,” Vilmarie Budde said.

Chief Speziale says he understands that some people are afraid to get involved and won’t call police, but he is urging folks to call in the information. They will not be identified in any way.

Law enforcement officials across the region agree Crimewatch units are playing a vital role in deterring crime. But in some communities, the membership in those Crimewatch organizations is dwindling.

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