There were 30 people at the 15th District PSA1 meeting on May 28th which is a great turnout for this event. Unfortunately a major issue of discussion was the lack of police participation at the meeting. Residents came ready and willing to talk crime and provide information but it was not until about 7:40 PM that Sargent Ammons arrived, having been summoned on his day off when someone realized that the meeting was not being covered. Lt. Gordon was on vacation.
In the absence of police officers, Assistant District Attorney Jackie Coelho listened to residents issues and offered advice and suggestions.
- The 4700 block of Griscom has rapidly reverted to an open air drug market. The dealers ply their trace unmolested by the police. As one resident said “It hasn’t been this bad since 97.” Residents want to know whey the foot patrols are all over Frankford Avenue but nowhere near the 4700 block of Griscom where there is more drug traffic than ever.
- Residents of the 5000 block of Griscom Street report that the block is much better but they still have a few problem residents.
- Other people pointed out that if you want to buy drugs you go the great circle route: Griscom between Arrott and Oxford then up to the 4700 block of Penn and then down to the Avenue to Foulkrod and Frankford and then do it all over again.
- Drugs are sold every day at Tackawanna and Womrath and down to Torresdale Ave. They guy sits in his vehicle with the door open.
- Prostitution continues on Trenton Avenue.
Questions put to the DA were related to what does it take to shut these properties down where drugs are sold. Her answer is a conviction. The owner of a deli who is in jail awaiting trial for selling drugs out of the deli. The deli continues in operation and drugs continue to be sold. Until he is convicted of a crime, no property confiscation will happen.
Coelho makes a good point however in that getting a conviction may result but then getting a sentence that will keep the dealer in jail for a substantial time is something else. Judges have latitude in sentencing. They may look at the defendant and see a guy trying to make a few bucks and didn’t kill anybody so he may get the minimum. To show judges that the community cares about the issue, people from the community have to take the time to attend the trial and testify to the damage the defendant has done to the neighborhood. She did commit to the community that she will pay special attention to drug cases involving Frankford to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Sargent Ammons will report on the issues raised at the meeting to Lt. Gordon and perhaps next month we can get a response on some of those issues.
Events to keep in mind are the Frankford Civic meeting on June 3rd and the PDAC gun buy back on June 27th. The PSA1 meeting is scheduled for the 4th Thursday of each month. The next one will be on June 25 at Aria Hospital at 7 PM.