Dr. Jerry Ratcliffe, Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University appeared at the Frankford Civic Association meeting on June 4th to bring some reality to the discussion about crime in Frankford. Since crime has been an ongoing theme of the civic meetings in the past, his attendance was welcome.
The crowd of about 20 regulars listened attentively to his presentation. He is an engaging speaker and has a wealth of expertise beyond the academic world.
- On the Philadelphia police – maybe not the best but they are getting better compared to where they were. They have moved from just responding to 911 calls to planning and deploying police where they will be needed.
- Demands on the police are far greater than they can meet so choices have to be made. There is never enough funding for manpower and equipment.
- Foot patrols, which everyone loves, can be effective in a limited area but every man you take out of a patrol car slows down response time overall.
- We need some creative ideas to shut down the drug corners. We are not going to stop people from using or selling drugs with policing. There has been success in other parts of the country by re-engineering the places where drugs are sold to make it less attractive for that place to be used. Block through traffic where drugs are sold to people in autos etc.
- Surveillance cameras do prevent certain crimes but they tend to be non violent in their nature. A guy who is going to steal a car will look around to see if anyone is looking. The other guy who is high and with a gun will shoot you no matter who is watching.
Also on the agenda was Michael Calderone Principal of Harding Middle School at Torresdale and Wakeling. An issue was raised at the last Civic meeting about the long time, ongoing construction project at the school. The job has dragged on due to problems in properly replacing Terra Cotta tiles on the roof line. The result is that a scaffold and fence has been up around the school keeping the grass from being cut and attracting trash.
After being contacted by Pete Specos, President of the Civic Association, Calderone immediately double-checked the stone on top to make sure it wouldn’t fall. Once it was deemed safe, they removed the fence and cleared the brush that was growing around it. He added that they do appreciated the letter, that it helped them move forward, and invited residents to please just call him whenever they have concerns. Residents appreciated his prompt action.
The next meeting of the Frankford Civic Association will be held on Thursday July 2nd at 7 PM at St. Marks Church 4442 Frankford Avenue.