Residents in Philadelphia’s 15th District, the busiest district in the city, can now breathe a sigh of relief because 30 new officers have been added to assist in reduction of crime in the area.
The district polices the neighborhoods of Wissonoming, Tacony, Bridesburg, Holmesburg, Frankford and Mayfair.
In 2013, the 15th district led the city with 1,720 thefts, 1,095 thefts from motor vehicles, 836 burglaries, 672 robberies and 571 aggravated assaults reported.
Hundreds of signatures were signed on councilman Bobby Henon’s website pressing the Philadelphia Police Department for a split of the district.
Not everyone thinks that simply adding new officers will be the long-term the solution.
Mayfair Community Development Corporation president Donny Smith and chairman Joe DeFelice really pushed for the district to be split instead due to the prolonged police response times that even John McCloskey, captain of the 15th district, admitted would take over an hour on some occasions.
DeFelice credits Smith for his actions of forcing the issue to the PPD.
“You got to credit Donny our president on this one, said DeFelice. “He really responded to the community and wants the residents to feel safer.”
Even though the officers have been added to the district, DeFelice sees this as probably only being a temporary solution.
“While we appreciate and welcome the added police officers,” said DeFelice, “we feel that a split would be a more immediate solution to the problem because those 30 police officers may be moved over time and could leave us where we started.”
McCloskey, on the other hand, thinks the new additions will be good enough to cover the district in its entirety.
“I don’t think we need to split the district in half,” said McCloskey. “The additional officers mean a lot to me and a lot to the residents of the 15th district. I think with these additional resources and additional police cars in the area, there’s no need to split the district in half. We got the cops, and I expect to see a decrease in crime and increase in activity. The residents will be pleased.”
Kevin Faber, 22, is a lifelong resident of Mayfair has noticed a change in crime over the past few years.
“Growing up here in Mayfair, crime wasn’t something we had to worry about,” said Faber. “We’d just be running around the neighborhood not having to worry about a thing. Now you always here about something going on in the neighborhood, somebody getting shot or a drug-related crime that kind of stuff.”
Although Faber has seen his neighborhood take a turn for the worse in recent years, he acknowledges that the police activity has increased in the area.
“Within the last week,” said Faber, “I’ve seen a lot more cops driving on the street being in the neighborhood so that’s good.”