Philadelphia’s police officers can be very unsympathetic when people do things that are stupid as well as illegal — especially if someone gives them some lip, too.
Mark Mroz, the 2nd Police District’s community relations officer, last week said he told a woman not to park illegally while she was dropping a child off at a local school.
The woman did as she pleased anyway, Mroz told members of the 2nd Police District Advisory Council, and gave him some guff, too, so he gave her a ticket. He also looked up her license plate number and found out she was a scofflaw. He had the woman’s car impounded.
Another of life’s lessons learned the hard way: Don’t mess with people who have guns, badges, ticket books and speedy access to traffic court records.
Mroz’s anecdote is just one indication of a larger issue, Capt. Michael McCarrick told PDAC members during their Dec. 13 meeting at the Philadelphia Protestant Home.
Many parents dropping their little darlings off at any of the district’s 15 schools are double-, triple- and quadruple-parking instead of pulling over and parking legally.
If it were just one or two people doing that, it wouldn’t be much of a problem, the 2nd district’s commander said, but a lot of people do it, and besides being unsafe for the children and other drivers, the practice creates morning traffic jams around schools.
There are signs posted, but they’re being ignored, the captain said. Drivers get away with it often enough because there are so many schools in the district and officers can’t cover them all every morning. But they get to them, he said.
He had a warning for errant motorists:
“If they’re too stupid to read the signs, let them read the back of the ticket,” McCarrick said.
Sometimes, the problem is not illegal parking, the captain said the next day. Some parents park legally across from their children’s school and then send them darting into traffic and between the cars that are double-parked.
Illegal parking and blocking traffic outside schools is not peculiar to the 2nd district, the captain said. It’s a problem all over the city.
Other citywide issues are residential burglaries and car burglaries, McCarrick said.
There has been a huge increase — more than 30 percent — in residential burglaries in the 2nd district this year, the captain said. However, arrests are up about 19 percent, too, he said. Adults and juveniles are being locked up.
“Kids are out there trying to get money and iPhones to give as gifts,” he said.
Recently, officers have arrested some juveniles they say are responsible for several area burglaries.
“We are seeing a lot of daytime burglaries associated with school truancy,” the captain said in a phone interview Dec. 14.
Usually, when police see items like electronic game systems or games stolen, they theorize the burglars are youths.
“But we are seeing more adults selling games for cash,” McCarrick said, “and we’re looking at some of the guys who are doing that for burglaries.”
Car theft was big news last week when two brothers were arrested for allegedly stealing and then dumping scores of old Hondas.
Alexander and Eduardo Ramos were arrested last week and charged with more than 70 counts of car theft. McCarrick said the two allegedly were stealing the cars and cutting out their catalytic converters. The cars would be dumped at various locations, including the lower Northeast.
The converters contain small amounts of platinum, but enough platinum that they’re worth about $300 each, the captain said.
Last week, platinum was valued at more than $1,400 an ounce.
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Police advisory council members usually conduct their monthly meetings at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, 6500 Tabor Ave., but their Tuesday, Jan. 10 session will begin at 7 p.m. in the new Police Athletic League center on the property of Glading Memorial Church, 1267 E. Cheltenham Ave. It will be for one meeting only, Mroz said. In February, the organization’s meetings will return to the Protestant Home. ull;•
Reporter John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org