Officers discuss local crime statistics at town hall meeting

The po­lice de­part­ment shared some end-of-the-year neigh­bor­hood crime stat­ist­ics by hold­ing a Dec. 13 town hall meet­ing for Po­lice Ser­vice Area 3 (PSA3) of the 26th Po­lice Dis­trict.

Capt. Mi­chael Cram ad­dressed a large crowd in the base­ment of the Holy Name of Je­sus Cath­ol­ic Church, at 701 E. Gaul St. Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Charles Ram­sey and An­gel Torres, a mem­ber of the city dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice, joined Cram as he dis­cussed loc­al crime pre­ven­tion.

The 26th dis­trict is a “mid-level dis­trict,” Cram said, with between 65,000 and 80,000 res­id­ents.

The dis­trict is di­vided in­to three PSAs. 

Cram said that throughout PSA 3 — which ex­tends from Front Street to the Delaware River, and from about Pop­lar Street to Le­high Av­en­ue — hom­icides have been in­fre­quent, with only three in the last year.

In­stead, one of the big­ger is­sues fa­cing PSA 3 is prop­erty crime, with 1,400 in­cid­ents hav­ing been re­por­ted. “It’s amaz­ing, the amount of prop­erty crimes in this area,” Cram said. 

The crimes in­clude home burg­lar­ies and thefts from vehicles. Cram said there has been a spike in rob­ber­ies in the last month.

“What we find with burg­lar­ies is they’re not just stop­ping at one — they’re do­ing two or three,” Cram said of the thieves. 

In an ef­fort to stem these prob­lems, Cram and his men “stay on top of the pawn shops,” he said.

Also, thefts from vehicles keep area po­lice busy, Cram said, with more than 1,000 such thefts re­por­ted in the last year. 

“Keep­ing valu­ables hid­den doesn’t do any good,” Cram said. 

Of­ten, a crim­in­al will simply tar­get an en­tire block, break­ing in­to vehicles haphaz­ardly. They’ll break in­to a car even for just a few quar­ters, he ad­ded.

In the last year, 250 res­id­en­tial burg­lar­ies were re­por­ted in the neigh­bor­hoods of PSA 3. 

“They use force and go through the back door or win­dows,” Cram said. “They’re gonna do it quickly.”

Of the 64 burg­lary sus­pects ar­res­ted, most are adult res­id­ents of PSA 3 and are re­peat of­fend­ers. 

“They are gen­er­a­tion­al burg­lars,” Cram said. 

Ad­dress­ing the audi­ence’s con­cerns about re­cidiv­ism, Cram said, “It’s tough to keep ’em in (jail).”

But that doesn’t mean it’s im­possible. Cram turned to Torres, from the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice, who noted that “com­munity pro­sec­u­tion has been a huge suc­cess” in oth­er areas. 

By hav­ing an act­ive com­munity to help pro­sec­ute crime — for ex­ample, res­id­ents who will show up in large num­bers dur­ing crim­in­al tri­als — po­lice are see­ing res­ults, he said.

Read­ing his list of crim­in­al stat­ist­ics, Cram said that PSA 3 logged 312 qual­ity-of life ar­rests, in­clud­ing for un­der­age drink­ing and pub­lic in­tox­ic­a­tion. There were 48 drug buy­ers and 44 sellers ar­res­ted in PSA 3 in the last year, he ad­ded.

“Our pre­scrip­tion nar­cot­ics in this neigh­bor­hood are bad,” Cram said.

But curfew vi­ol­a­tions and tru­ancy are down. 

Cram de­voted the end of his present­a­tion to ways the com­munity can help the po­lice do their jobs. With the help of a neigh­bor, the 26th dis­trict was able to take over a home on the 2000 block of Jasper St., a house that, po­lice said, was home to drug deal­ers and pros­ti­tutes. 

It took 451 ra­dio calls, 183 e-mails, four ar­rests and one year to con­vince the courts that the house was a prob­lem.

“We can’t do those things without the com­munity,” Cram said.

After Cram fin­ished his present­a­tion, Com­mis­sion­er Ram­sey ad­dressed the crowd. 

Pros­ti­tu­tion should be a big is­sue on the agenda, he said. 

“We gotta get the ‘Johns,’” Ram­sey said, re­fer­ring to the men who pay pros­ti­tutes for their ser­vices.

He also en­cour­aged the audi­ence to at­tend hear­ings if they are the wit­nesses or vic­tims of a crime, no mat­ter how small. 

He said he also hoped to im­ple­ment train­ing pro­grams to teach land­lords how to op­er­ate their busi­nesses. 

ldquo;I prom­ise you that I’ll do everything I can,” Ram­sey said. ••

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