Capt. Frank Bachmayer, commander of the 15th Police District, was expecting to take part in a routine Mayfair Town Watch meeting on Feb. 27 about the Shamrock Shuttle.
The four televisions news vans parked outside the Mayfair Community Center were the first indication that the meeting agenda had changed.
The crowd spent about 10 seconds talking about the Shuttle and a guarantee from bar owners that they’d rent more portable toilets for this past Saturday’s pre-St. Patrick’s Day celebration than they did in past years.
The rest of the discussions centered around slashed tires on the 4000 blocks of Aldine and Teesdale streets, stolen tires on the 3200 block of Princeton Ave. and cars vandalized with spray paint.
“I’m pissed off as much as everybody else is,” Bachmayer said.
The police commander was joined by Inspector John Heath, commander of the Northeast Police Division, and Sharon Krause, community relations officer in the 15th district.
Supporting the Mayfair organization were the 15th Police District Advisory Council and Town Watch and civic association groups from Bridesburg, Frankford, Wissinoming, Tacony and Holmesburg.
Milt Martelack, president of Mayfair Town Watch, is confident the vandals will be apprehended if they strike again.
“If you’re going to play with fire long enough, you’re going to get burnt,” he said.
Martelack said Mayfair has plenty going for it, citing strong community organizations, a newly built playground and upcoming events such as an Easter egg hunt and a run/walk to benefit the college-age children of police officers and firefighters killed or disabled in the line of duty.
The Town Watch president made a pitch for new patrolling members. A certification class is scheduled for Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Mayfair Community Center, 2990 St. Vincent St.
The patrols can be effective in preventing crime, Martelack said, adding that members can volunteer for as little as an hour a month.
Hank Bickel, a resident of the 3000 block of Knorr St., said the mere presence of people on their porches at night can prevent criminal acts. He and some neighbors have regular “Knorr Street Town Watch meetings” — they sit outside of their homes drinking beer.
“Nobody’s breaking windows on thirty-hundred Knorr,” he said.
As for the recent crime spree, Bachmayer has met with residents and even gone on late-night patrols himself. He also attended Monday night’s crime and public safety forum sponsored by City Councilman Bobby Henon.
The police commander didn’t want to give a specific crime-fighting plan but mentioned there are beefed-up patrols, including the use of plainclothes officers. Meanwhile, Northeast Detectives is investigating earlier evidence and tips.
Bachmayer told the crowd that there have been arrests for stolen tires on the 7600 block of Craig St. and the 1400 block of Rosalie St.
Most people agree that the thieves are using professional equipment to take four tires in a short amount of time.
“It probably takes two to three minutes,” Bachmayer said.
The police official said district personnel regularly look for truants and curfew violators.
Other complaints included young hockey players hitting parked cars, people rooting through recycling buckets and young people hanging out at Walgreens.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the group’s Facebook page.
In other news from the meeting:
• Lisa Deeley, an aide to Henon, announced the councilman’s new Bad Neighbor Initiative. Complaints about weeds, trash and other nuisance properties can be reported to the Council office at 215-686-3444 or www.bobbyhenon.com
• There will be a beef-and-beer fund-raiser to benefit the Mayfair and Tacony/Holmesburg Town Watch groups this Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Reale’s Sports Bar & Grille, at 7233 Frankford Ave.
Tickets cost $25 and are available at the door. Call 215-983-9600. ••EndFragment