Controller visits Burholme Community Town Watch

City Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz is pleased that the fire de­part­ment is plan­ning re­forms de­signed to in­crease re­sponse time by med­ic­al units.

Butkovitz, who vis­ited the Burholme Com­munity Town Watch and Civic As­so­ci­ation, has long cri­ti­cized the city for hav­ing too few para­med­ics to re­spond to emer­gen­cies.

Today, there are many more 911 calls for med­ic­al emer­gen­cies than fires.

Now, Fire Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers plans to in­crease the num­ber of para­med­ics. At present, the city em­ploys about 250 med­ics.

Along with more med­ics would come ad­di­tion­al vehicles.

“There are not enough am­bu­lances,” Butkovitz said.

Butkovitz also cri­ti­cizes the city’s lack of a pri­or­ity sys­tem for emer­gency med­ic­al calls. He likens it to tak­ing a num­ber at a bakery.

“It’s first-come, first-served,” he said.

Butkovitz also con­tin­ued to warn folks about the city’s Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive. Next month, the city will mail the as­sessed value of prop­er­ties to res­id­ents and busi­ness own­ers.

Then, it will be up to City Coun­cil to set a tax rate to cal­cu­late yearly prop­erty taxes.

To re­port waste, fraud and lack of re­spons­ive­ness by city gov­ern­ment, call 215-686-3804 or send an e-mail to fraud­tips@phil­adelphi­ac­on­trol­

In oth­er news from the Jan. 10 meet­ing:

• Mark Mroz, com­munity re­la­tions of­ficer in the 2nd Po­lice Dis­trict, pro­moted Op­er­a­tion ID, a na­tion­wide pro­gram new to the Phil­adelphia Po­lice De­part­ment.

Cit­izens can con­tact their loc­al po­lice dis­trict to re­quest gold la­bels that they can place on valu­able items in their home. If the items are stolen and re­covered by law en­force­ment, they can be iden­ti­fied by the own­ers by the la­bels.

Po­lice re­com­mend that the iden­ti­fic­a­tion num­ber be the in­di­vidu­al’s driver’s li­cense num­ber. The stick­ers are made to look like fact­ory la­bels so crooks don’t re­cog­nize them for what they are. Either way, the la­bels are made in such a way that they are hard to peel off.

Mroz, who left his com­munity re­la­tions post on Monday to work for In­spect­or Mike Co­chrane, said burg­lars like to tar­get laptop com­puters but know that many mod­els in­clude a Lo­Jack theft re­cov­ery device. Thus, they try to dump them quickly.

“They’ll sell a five-hun­dred-dol­lar laptop for ten bucks,” he said.

Mroz said one crime on the rise is the theft of ex­pens­ive Beats head­phones.

On a more up­beat note, he said the 2nd and 15th po­lice dis­tricts in­vited 100 ele­ment­ary school stu­dents to a Christ­mas party. Each child re­ceived a gift. The party also fea­tured food, drinks, a disc jockey, a ma­gi­cian and a vis­it from Santa Claus.

Mroz told res­id­ents that the 2nd dis­trict’s new com­mand­er, Frank Palumbo, plans to at­tend an up­com­ing meet­ing.

• Nick Himebaugh, an aide to state Rep. Brendan Boyle, told the crowd that Boyle was ap­poin­ted to the House Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee for the 2013-14 ses­sion.

Himebaugh also brought cop­ies of a news­let­ter not­ing that Boyle’s of­fice can help with is­sues such as winter util­ity as­sist­ance pro­grams, the Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive and SEPTA’s pro­posed smart card sys­tem. Call 215-342-1700.

• Burholme Com­munity Town Watch and Civic As­so­ci­ation will meet on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m., at United Meth­od­ist Church of the Re­deem­er, at Cottman and Lawndale av­en­ues. The guests will be the prin­cipals of Kennedy Crossan, Im­manuel Luther­an and Present­a­tion BVM ele­ment­ary schools. ••

Re­port­er Tom War­ing can be reached at 215-354-3034 or twar­

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