Northeast Times

Frankford Civic discusses rise in crime at meeting

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. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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