Northeast Times

Plainclothes officers patrolling drug-heavy streets

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. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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