DA Seth Williams explains Community Based Prosecution as ADA Gilson holds the map
District Attorney Seth Williams returned to the Northwood Civic Association meeting (last visited in June of 2010) on November 20th to update residents on the crime situation in the Northeast. He described how Community Based Prosecution has changed how crime is prosecuted in the city. Accompanied by Assistant DA Mark Gilson who is the head of the Northeast bureau, they explained the benefits of this change.
Violent crime continues to plague the city. Williams looks to legislative changes at the state level that would make carrying an unlicensed concealed weapon a felony (presently a misdemeanor) with a mandatory prison sentence. This is one logical step that would reduce the number of illegal guns on the street. He points to the success of New York City in reducing their murder rate as being related to a similar law implemented up there.
Results of elections for the board of directors from last month are finalized. President is Joe Krause. Vice President is Tom McAvoy. Board members are: Rodney Allen, Mary Robus, Ed Martin, Frank Bennett and Lou Kubik.
As we reported earlier, residents are concerned about the problems at the park in the 900 block of Harrison Street. The Civic is working on identifying the owners of the property. It appears that it is not connected to Northwood Park and may be privately owned. The row of damaged garages is also privately owned and the Civic intends to contact the owner of that property. Jason Dawkins, on behalf of Councilwoman Sanchez said that their office works with community groups (like the Friends of Overington Park) and will look to community involvement with this park.
The Civic is continuing to monitor the auto sales that are conducted out of a private residence on the 900 block of Foulkrod Street. The individual has been contacted and notified that this is a violation of the deed restriction but the activity continues. The Civic is considering the option of legal action in the face of this blatant violation of the deed restriction.
Frank Bennett gave a brief update on the status of the New Frankford Community Y. The roof has been repaired. The next step needed is to have the electricity turned on. Fund raising is under way and if you are planning your charitable giving, donations to the Y are tax deductable. Follow this link for further information.
The next Northwood Civic Association meeting will be held on December 18th at St. James Lutheran Church at 7PM.
The Frankford Business & Professional Association was thrilled to welcome District Attorney Seth Williams to our October general meeting yesterday morning!
During the hour long session, the D.A. took some great questions from a packed room, and discussed what his office is doing to prevent crime around the City, how we can all work together to create safer neighborhoods, and how his personal story has shaped his career path and his goals as the City’s top prosecutor.
For those who couldn’t make it, we hope you enjoy the pictures below. And we want to extend a special thanks to the D.A., his office, and all who came out yesterday!
There are a few corners in Frankford where you can go and obtain illegal drugs. This should not be surprising. Illegal drugs are everywhere, even in those pristine suburbs where many of our former neighbors have fled. The difference is that in those suburbs the sales are conducted discretely indoors or they drive to Frankford to make their purchase and then flee back to the burbs to ingest.
The drug corners create what would be charitably called a quality of life issue. In the Economist last week they had an interesting piece on strategies now being followed in some other cities to encourage drug dealers to retire from their careers in order to clean up the drug corners.
POLICE watched seven people sell drugs in Marshall Courts and Seven Oaks, two districts in south-eastern Newport News, in Virginia. They built strong cases against them. They shared that information with prosecutors. But then the police did something unusual: they sent the seven letters inviting them to police headquarters for a talk, promising that if they came they would not be arrested. Three came, and when they did they met not only police and prosecutors, but also family members, people from their communities, pastors from local churches and representatives from social-service agencies. Their neighbours and relatives told them that dealing drugs was hurting their families and communities. The police showed them the information they had gathered, and they offered the seven a choice: deal again, and we will prosecute you. Stop, and these people will help you turn your lives around. This approach is known as drug-market intervention (DMI).
Does it work? Too early to say. What is interesting is that it is something different than what we are seeing in Philadelphia. What we are seeing is not working. The police will tell you that. Mayor Nutter and DA Seth Williams know that. What we need is something that works. We are never going to stop people from using drugs just like Prohibition did not stop people from using alcohol.
Anybody with any new ideas, please step up to the plate.
I was tempted to skip the Friday night event because I had been out all day and it was still 80 some degrees at 9:30 p.m. but duty called so I crawled on over to Pratt and Frankford to a look. I was expecting maybe a few people but a nice diverse crowd was on the scene and I did what I could to capture the feeling of the event on video.
I hate those political speeches and these guys get enough face time as it is but if you listen all of Seth Williams he explains the point. I won’t go into it here. Also appearing is Tony Payton and the Reverend Richard Smith. The promo said there would be a walk through Frankford and I was expecting maybe a march up the Avenue from Bridge to Orthodox but in fact it was far more extensive than that. I followed only until Wakeling and Hawthorne when I had to leave.