I haven’t been commenting on crime stories about Frankford in the media since you can read them elsewhere and I don’t have much to add to them. The Inquirer on Sunday had a front page story (Walking the walk to cut city’s crime) about the new crime fighting strategies that have reduced crime in the city and specifically in Frankford. We have previously noted that improvement and applauded the police for their fine work.
I am commenting now though because that story might create the impression that the only thing we have going on in Frankford is crime. Frankford is a big place with over 30,000 people living here and going about their business peacefully every day. The story made the point that a six square block area of Frankford “bordered by Frankford Avenue and Arrott, Leiper, and Harrison Streets, is one of 60 hot spots identified in a Temple University study as the city’s highest-volume crime areas.”
Coincidentally I live in that area and the view from here is not all that bad. One of the points made in this story is that crime is a very local thing.
Ramsey set up foot patrols in 2008 in the city’s five busiest police districts, using officers fresh out of the Police Academy. Police soon noticed a drop in shootings, Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.
“We believed adding foot patrols was going to be effective,” Ross said, “but we wanted to measure how effective.”
That led to the partnership with Temple’s Jerry Ratcliffe, a criminology professor who conducted the study on Philadelphia’s most violent street corners.
Ratcliffe and his colleagues analyzed and mapped crime data for 2006, 2007, and 2008, revealing clusters of crime within just a few blocks. Most shooting victims are shot within a few blocks of their homes, Ratcliffe found, and he noted that violence often bred more violence, presumably in the form of retaliation.
“Philadelphia’s got really small neighborhoods, and I think many people’s lives revolve around a few streets,” Ratcliffe said. “When something happens, everyone knows about it, and you can’t let people in that neighborhood know you let something slide.”
This implies that the criminals among us live in a small area and do their business there. That kind of makes sense and explains why I live in this crime hot spot and see little of it on my block.
Now what I would like to see is a study by Temple University to explain what brought these criminals to live in this neighborhood in the first place. Would anybody like to venture a guess.