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Frankford Crime and Safety Coalition

This is from the Northeast Times dated May 24th.

Group takes aim at crime in Frankford

By Diane Villano-ProkopTimes Staff Writer

One of the first things the Frankford Crime and Safety Coalition wants to do is put the neighborhood in a different light — namely by turning on the lights on the El bridge along Frankford Avenue.Last week the coalition convened at Frankford Hospital for its second meeting, though the group — a sampling of civic leaders, legislative representatives and police — was much smaller than those in attendance at the debut session in March.The lights attached to the Market-Frankford El trestles were installed by SEPTA during reconstruction of the elevated rail line in the mid-’90s. The understanding was that the Frankford Business and Professional Association would change the lightbulbs, but these days only a light here and there shines down on the avenue.

Other short-term goals of the coalition include exploring what it would take to bring a police mini-station to Frankford and reinstating the Frankford Safety Ambassador program. The program — funded by Frankford Hospital until rising malpractice insurance premiums forced an end to that support — provided uniformed “ambassadors” who were a presence on Frankford Avenue, creating an air of safety along the business corridor. “The whole idea is visibility on the avenue,” said Catherine Bowers, executive director of the Frankford Group Ministry. “Crime was down forty percent (when the ambassadors were on the street). It’s presence.”

She also reported that the city’s 15th district curfew center, which recently opened at FGM’s Griscom Street headquarters to process young curfew violators rounded up by police, is running smoothly, averaging 11 to 12 kids a night. One parent was so impressed with the operation when her child was brought to the curfew center that she signed up as a volunteer, Bowers said.

The coalition also had discussed the crime-prevention use of surveillance cameras in the neighborhood. Liz McCollum-Nazaria, chief of staff for City Councilman Dan Savage (D-7th dist.), said she’ll have more information about the status of cameras in June.

The coalition members are making plans to meet on June 27. Others in attendance at last week’s meeting included Terry Tobin, executive director of the New Frankford Y; Tracy O’Drain, manager of economic development services for the Frankford Community Development Corporation; Frankford Business and Professional Association member Jim McCarthy; and Sgt. Scott Drissel of the 15th Police District. ••

Reporter Diane Villano-Prokop can be reached at 215-354-3036 or

The issues discussed at this meeting are certainly important and it is good to see some organization taking place. My only complaint is that these groups seem to come out of nowhere. Who forms them and what is the history behind them. Why do we not hear more about them except reports of meetings that have already taken place.

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Tom Knox Frankford election headquarters robbery

The Northeast Times and all major newspapers reported the robbery of Tom Knox election headquarters on May 15th primary election day. The brilliant perpetrators appeared to be knowledgeable about the presence of street money on election day and decided to take advantage of it.

“The crime occurred just before 1 p.m. on May 15 in the midst of the hotly contested primary vote. According to Philadelphia police Capt. Jack McGinnis, commander of Northeast Detectives, the two suspects conned their way inside the office, at 4625 Frankford Ave., by telling Knox campaign officials that they needed a rest after roaming the neighborhood all morning rousing voters.They were even wearing “Knox for Mayor” T-shirts. Once inside, the men allegedly sought out the office manager. Then one of the suspects lifted his Knox shirt to reveal a gun in his belt. They demanded cash. The men reportedly fled with a bag containing about $300 in stipend money for the office workers.According to Officer Yolanda Dawkins, a police department spokeswoman, the men wore black shirts and blue jeans. Both were black and had light complexions. One had a tattoo on his neck and was wearing a baseball cap, McGinnis added. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Northeast Detectives at 215-686-3153.”

I hope the remembered to vote before going to work. They won’t be able to while they are in the slammer. Smart move boys.

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Shooting on Griscom Street

According to the Northeast Times on May 19th a shooting on the 4800 block of Griscom Street left one man dead and another hospitalized. Miguel Torress of the 1400 block of Fanshawe Street was killed. William Thomas was hospitalized as of Sunday morning.

“According to the police public affairs unit, there have been no arrests and no motive for the shootings. At Monday’s 15th Police District Advisory Council meeting, however, a Frankford resident said that the incident was the result of a feud between Griscom Street and Arrott Street gangs, where five men knelt down on the street and opened fire. The resident surmised it was drug related.

Capt. Frank Bachmayer, 15th district commander, agreed, adding that there was a high probability of additional violence stemming from Saturday’s shooting. He told her, however, that it was not all doom and gloom in Frankford.”[While] one shooting is one too many, we’re out there…doing preventive, pro-active patrols. My homicides are down fifty percent to seventy-five percent compared to this time last year,” Bachmayer said. ”

I wasn’t aware that the residents of Griscom Street had organized and formed their own gang. How enterprising of them. It’s good to know there are still ambitious folks left in Frankford. What does make me wonder is that the police clearly know there are gangs and where they are and yet not much progress is being made to shut them down.

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Historical Society of Frankford

I noticed today that at long last, the Historical Society of Frankford has a working web site. It has been a long long time coming. This is the link:

This is one of the oldest instututions in Frankford and is a valuable resource for the community. New leadership seems to be moving it forward. They are looking for volunteers. I’ll contact them and let you know how it looks. Memberships are not expensive. Why not join and support this fine organization.