Philadelphia’s 35th Police District is as busy as a police district can get. Covering from Cheltenham Avenue to Wingohocking Street and from Wister Street to Roosevelt Boulevard, it entails the areas of East Oak Lane, parts of West Oak Lane, Logan, Olney and the tip of Feltonville.
With these different neighborhoods come a variety of crime and depending on the time of year-some more serious than others. “This is a very busy district,” said Officer Robert Hoppe. “Especially in the summer. Summer is definitely the time of year when we see the most violence. We probably see most of violence in the Wingohocking area.”
Winter tends to be a bit of a different story. “Not that burglaries don’t happen in the summer or spring, but they’re more prevalent in the winter, especially around Christmas time,” said Hoppe. Officer Hoppe’s cool, relaxed attitude reinforced that all of this is just part of the job.
Season also determines the means by which the force makes its way around the district. “We have a lot of bike cops who are under our captain,” explained Hoppe. “In the winter, they’re usually in cars. But on nicer days they’ll get on bikes and ride around the higher areas of crime. If more crime moves to a certain area, the captain will relocate them to that certain area.” Bike cops are more accessible to certain areas that officers cannot get into with a car during certain pursuits. “Bike cops can get to certain places easier,” said Hoppe.
When discussing an average shift from area to area, Hoppe knew easily what to expect. “There are more drugs in the Chelten and Wister area. The lower end of the area, like Rising Sun Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard, is where we see more robberies.” Officer Hoppe added that many drug offenders know each other, so the chances of a confrontation extending into vindictive violence are higher. “In the drugs areas, many times in a case of somebody ratting another out, more problems occur.”
The city has gangs, such as the Bloods and Crips, but Hoppe explained that they are not a major problem. The gangs contribute to the big picture like most other offenders.
Most of arrests made in the 35th district are residents of the district.
Fifth Street, the largest commercial corridor in the district, is not an area of priority. With projects such as The Revitalization Project, a business-strengthening endeavor run by The Korean Community Development Services Center and the general population taking advantage of its convenience, Fifth Street tends to be a fairly low-key place when it comes to taking care of crime. “Fifth Street is actually not really much of a problematic area. Once you’re off the main strip is when you see any action,” explained Hoppe. When asked about problems in Fisher Park, Hoppe explained that as with any city with a wooded or shaded area that there are going to be attempts to sell drugs and commit crimes such as rape.
The age of offenders follows suit with the demographic range of the area in which 66 percent of the population is 18 years of age and above. “We average more adults than juveniles,” explained Hoppe. “During the school year we bring in some young offenders who commit crimes during school. Most of the offenders we find in Fisher Park are also juveniles doing things such as smoking marijuana. But you see most crime committed by people between 20 and 30 years of age.” Hoppe explained that most of the offenders are male. “We don’t see many females involved in anything except for domestic ‘he said, she said’ stuff.”
The variety of problems that the 35th District deals with is notably wide and ranges from petty crimes to murder. With summer officially kicked off, the force has its work cut out. One of the busiest districts in city just got a bit busier.
Take a look at the business revitalization project, which has helped to cut crime.