Property crimes remain big problems in the Northeast’s 2nd Police District, Capt. Michael McCarrick said last week.
“We really got slammed with burglaries in the past year,” the district commander said.
But two officers made enough arrests to make a serious dent in that crime statistic in December.
Officers Antimo Piccirillo and Robert Donnelly were named the 2nd Police District Advisory Council’s December 2011 Officers of the Month for making three burglary arrests and a stolen auto arrest as well as busts for retail theft and other offenses.
Those arrests contributed to a 50-percent drop in burglaries in the area Donnelly and Piccirillo patrol, the captain and Mark Mroz, the district’s community relations officer, told PDAC members during their Jan. 10 meeting.
Tracking down burglars isn’t a snap, the captain said, adding that the criminals adapt as they learn what others do that result in their arrests.
“It takes hard work and dedication” to make burglary arrests, the captain said.
One tactic some burglars employ is to simply drive up to targeted addresses, throw up ladders and tell anyone who asks that they had been hired to do some work on the properties.
Anyone who sees that should jot down a license plate, call 911 or both, the captain said.
An old problem that resurfaces again and again involves criminals posing as utility workers to get into residences and begin stealing, McCarrick said. These impostors frequently target older people because they believe they’re easy victims, unreliable witnesses or, because of their age, might not live to testify at the impostors’ trials if they’re arrested.
Last week, PDAC members took their monthly meeting on the road, so to speak. Instead of meeting at the Philadelphia Protestant Home on Tabor Avenue, members held their session at the new Police Athletic League Center in the gym at Glading Memorial Presbyterian Church on Cheltenham Avenue in Oxford Circle.
The PAL center has been opened for just a few months and already has 300 neighborhood kids signed up for programs, McCarrick said.
Mike Ragucci, a Northeast resident, is the officer in charge.
The center is available to youngsters ages 6 to 18 from right after school dismissal until 9 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, during the school year. The centers are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during breaks and in the summer.
All the programs are free, stressed PAL’s Sgt. Eric Ervin.
“This is a free, safe environment,” Ervin said. “We don’t turn anyone away.”
The goal of the program is to help kids, he said, and in that way improve neighborhoods.
That, the captain said, slowly will have a positive impact on the community.
“The benefits of this program will not be truly felt for years to come,” he said.
To register or for more information, call 215-533-1395 or 215-291-9000, Ext. 165, or visit http://www.phillypal.com
PDAC chairwoman Lynn Genetti said the group will consider organizing its annual Community Day and Bike Ride, which is held in May, and its annual Officer Appreciation Day, which is a June event.
The group’s board also has an opening for secretary.
The PDAC’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, 6500 Tabor Ave. ••EndFragment