Overbrook: Crime Prevention Combats Increased Car Thefts

Officer Frank Gramlich explained the 19th Police District crime map.
Officer Frank Gramlich explained the 19th Police District crime map.
Officer Frank Gramlich explained the 19th Police District crime map.

In the past month, neighborhood crime reports indicate two robberies, two burglaries and a car theft have taken place in the 19th Police District near Overbrook. The 19th District is being proactive in educating community members on what they can do to ensure their belongings remain secure.

“The best thing they can do is take their personal items out of their car,” Frank Gramlich, crime prevention officer for the 19th District, said. “It even comes down to removing the suction cup [for a GPS] from their car windshield because they [suspects] will look just for that.”

The District’s Captain, Joseph Bolonga, strategized with Gramlich after seeing an increase in thefts. Bologna has since increased car stops, bike patrol and the number of officers in unmarked vehicles.

“We also utilize what we have administratively, we use a reverse 911 call which means that I can send out information in a 30 second message to everybody that is registered in the database and it goes to all the residents,” Gramlich said.

For residents who cannot make it to community meetings or do not have listed phone numbers Gramlich still perseveres to educate residents.

“We pass out flyers into mailboxes, put them on cars and even post them on our websites,” Gramlich said.

The police department’s main concern is to alert all residents and businesses of what is happening in their community. Officers from the District also expressed hope preventative education would significantly decrease such crimes.

“It pays sometimes to be a little nosy, to help each other out,” Grace Bennett, community relations officer for the 19th District, said.

The District is responsible for covering six square miles in West Philadelphia. The district hosts community meetings for each individual Police Service Area in order to address specific community issues. Residents can also sign-up to receive alerts from the Philadelphia Police Department to their mobile devices or email.

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