Drug dealers had been giving the 4700 block of Griscom St. a miss for a while, but they’re back, a resident recently week told the 15th Police District’s commander, Capt. John McCloskey.
The narcotics trade is so open on the block, the woman said, that the dealers are just counting their money in front of people.
The captain told the resident he was aware of the problem and had plainclothes officers watching dealers on the Frankford street that very night — Aug. 22.
“It’s better to see them selling drugs,” McCloskey said, explaining that a drug sales conviction will mean more jail time than a conviction for drug possession.
The captain was addressing residents from the 15th’s southern third — Police Service Area 1 — which includes Frankford and Northwood.
Residents told McCloskey about several trouble spots.
On Sept. 3, Sharon Krause, the district’s community relations officer, said a narcotics officer made an arrest on the block. She added that the captain and some officers on bike patrol also made two arrests.
Because of trouble on the street, the captain revoked a block party permit for 4700 Griscom for Sept. 7.
At the Aug. 22 meeting, a Northwood resident made an emotional plea for more enforcement on the 1200 block of Arrott St.
“We have a serious problem we’ve been fighting for five years,” she said.
There are squatters in a garage, others are living in an abandoned apartment building, there’s been a rash of car burglaries, there has been illegal dumping, and drug paraphernalia is lying on the pavements.
“This is my community,” she said. “We need help.”
She presented the captain with a petition asking for that help. She said it had 300 signatures.
The woman told the captain she had names and other information to give him privately after the meeting.
Kimberly Washington, executive director of the Frankford Community Development Corporation, told the captain that Frankford Avenue between Bridge and Pratt is the scene of drug sales outside — and inside — some stores.
Another resident said someone is selling marijuana openly on the 1600 block of Pratt St.
McCloskey said the southern end of the 15th, which includes the above locations, usually is the busiest and it’s where he has four officers assigned to foot patrol.
Bridge and Ditman is another trouble spot, he said. A young man recently got shot on the 5100 block of Ditman, McCloskey said, and didn’t want to go to the hospital after police found him.
A Mayfair resident said his neighborhood needs more police protection. He said car break-ins have increased in the district’s northern end. He added that Frankford Avenue near Bleigh Avenue has seen an increase in public drinking, public urination and prostitution.
Overall, the captain said, shootings and robberies are down, but burglaries, a citywide problem, are up.
McCloskey also said officers are nabbing many prostitutes.
“A lot of them are guys dressed as women,” he said.
The streetwalkers’ customers also are being arrested, the captain added.
“We take their cars and their money,” McCloskey said. “Let them explain that to their wives and girlfriends.”
The 15th, the city’s largest and busiest police district, recently got just a little larger.
The 4600 block of East Fisher’s Lane, which was in the 25th District, is now part of the 15th, McCloskey told residents. The street runs above Wyoming Avenue, west of Ramona Avenue, behind Cancer Treatment Centers of America. ••