The neighbors on the 4600 block of Worth Street see the cars with out-of-state plates and they know why they’re there.
Drugs. Why else would people from New Jersey and Delaware be driving around their small neighborhood east of Torresdale Avenue? They’ve even seen limos pull up. Residents know where the drug buyers are going, too. They can name the addresses.
They said drug dealing begins in their neighborhood as early as 7:30 a.m. and involves people aged 12 to their 40s, blacks, whites, men and women.
“It’s all day,” one woman said, “but the freaks come out at night.”
“It’s all new people,” said one woman who has lived 49 years on Worth Street.
Then, there are the shootings. Although the 15th Police District has seen a 50 percent drop in shooting victims this year, Capt. John McCloskey told residents at the Frankford Civic Association’s Oct. 3 meeting, there’s been a spike in that neighborhood.
About a dozen people have been shot in the past few weeks, the captain said. And none of the people involved in the most recent shootings are even from the area, he told those at the well-attended meeting in Aria Health’s Frankford campus.
In a small informal gathering on Oct. 2 in Diane Naylor’s home on Worth’s 4600 block, neighbors said they wanted to see more cops in their neighborhood and some said the same to McCloskey at the Oct. 3 civic association meeting.
McCloskey nodded and said he already has extra manpower on the East Frankford streets.
“I’ve got Highway Patrol in the area to help,” he said.
The captain also is hoping to get 10 new cops from the next Police Academy graduating class. He said the district’s cops handle a lot of calls and he knows response time is long. He’s hoping more officers will cut that time.
“Obviously, we need more police. Every district needs more police officers,” McCloskey said. “But I don’t want people waiting for hours,” the captain said.
Pete Specos, the civic association’s president, said police have conducted three drug raids in the neighborhood in the past few weeks.
The Worth Street neighbors said they didn’t come to the meeting just to list what they want. One by one, several rose to ask the captain what they could do to help.
“How can the community help?” one woman asked.
“You can call the district and ask for me,” the captain said. “You can call me. I don’t mind you calling me.”
Residents also can write down what they’ve seen in their neighborhood and give it to him anonymously, he said.
During a phone interview before the Oct. 3 meeting, McCloskey said he would respond to neighbors who tell him what is happening on their block.
“They give some information, I want to take some action,” he said.
At the civic association meeting, Penn Street resident Veronica Daniels said some neighbors recently had put their heads together to come up with some ideas.
“We want to start a movement to help you,” she told the captain. “We want to know what the community can do.”
She said more people coming out to community meetings would help.
Daniels asked about more street lighting and closed-circuit cameras.
Specos, the captain and other residents urged neighbors to call 911 and keep calling when they see crimes occurring. A few residents mentioned that they were hesitant to call police about crimes because officers come to their doors and that can be seen by the people committing the crimes.
“That’s not allowed,” the captain said, adding he wants residents to tell him when that happens. “They’re not supposed to knock on your door … They never ever should go to your house.”
McCloskey said he wants to know if any of the district’s police officers give residents a hard time.
“If you have a bad encounter with one of my officers, I want to know about it immediately,” he said. ••