As we previously reported, additional Philadelphia 9th District and Narcotics Field Unit officers this summer have resulted in many arrests. Those officers and arrests continue to this day. Some of these officers are in uniform, many are in plain clothes.
The arrests are now mostly for hydroponic marijuana sales and possession, but also for heroin and crack cocaine. Sums of cash have been confiscated. One search warrant was served. These activities at one point were occurring in an underground area and the officers were able to shut that down. The suspects are varied in age, income levels, backgrounds and where they come from, making the investigations more difficult.
A number of additional bike officers on all shifts are forthcoming and Howl at the Moon (258 south 15th street) hired 2 Philadelphia police officers to patrol on the weekend evenings outside of their business. This establishment has also been instructed to hire more bouncers outside.
It is important that residents are vigilant at all times. A great help to the officers is if you can make note and advise them of specific times, locations and suspects, including what they are wearing, patterns of what's happening when and where, etc. Please call the 9th District's Community Liaison Officer, Officer Mobley, at (215) 686-3090 with such information.
If an incident is occurring in real time, please call 911. If there is no or an unsatisfactory response within a reasonable time, please re-call 911 and ask for a supervisor.
The CCRA Board of Directors has endorsed the Fair Districts PA movement, which is a nonpartisan, citizen-led group working to fight gerrymandering. Redistricting will happen after the 2020 Census, so time is of the essence. Fair Districts PA wants to make the redistricting process impartial, transparent and accountable, by creating an independent citizens’ panel to lead the redistricting effort in an open door process, with clear standards.
To do that, Fair Districts PA is holding information and mobilization sessions.
The next event is October 3rd from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the Pyramid Club, 1735 Market St, Philadelphia. The featured guest will be Katherine Gehl, former CEO of Gehl Foods and a strong supporter of redistricting reform in her own state of Wisconsin. This is a ticketed event: Tickets - Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America.
Then, on October 6th is Justice and Gerrymandering: Why Redistricting Reform Matters, at the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia. The event is from 9am to noon, and will focus on an overview of gerrymandering and the need for reform.
For the past 3 years, CCRA’s Government Relations Committee, particularly Harvey Sacks (CCRA VP of Government Relations) and Matthew Fontana (CCRA Executive Vice President), has been working diligently to stop the protracted idling of CSX trains that block resident access to the Schuylkill River Trail at Locust Street, disturb the use and enjoyment of property for those living in and near the tracks, cause excessive fumes and noise (especially at night), and can cause possible delays in police and other emergency personnel’s reaction time to critical events that occur in and around the trail. The majority of the time, the idling is due to crew changes.
The City has an agreement with CSX that may require CSX to idle the trains further north of the most densely populated areas of Philly, in Belmont Plateau. The City's Legal Department and Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems (OTIS) have been willing to work with us to resolve this dilemma and have opened up a line of communications between them and CSX’s legal department.
We have met with a myriad of for and not-for profit entities that also boarder the trail and all are passionate to resolve this issue.
We have been joined in this effort by Logan Square Neighborhood Association, as they have the same issues as relates to Race Street access. Whenever the trains idle, both Race and Locust Streets access points are simultaneously blocked.
After having the City perform a noise study for us and approaching a number of federal agencies that regulate the railroad industry, we have recently approached US Senator Casey and have formally requested he meet with the new CSX president to help find a resolution to the idiling trains. Senator Toomey has also been helpful in prior communication with certain federal agencies.
We will keep you apprised. If you have any information to report or would like to know more please reach out to the CCRA and we will connect you with Harvey or Matt.
Center City Residents' Association (CCRA) along with Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) and South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) will be holding their annual elementary school fair on Tuesday, October 17, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at the Franklin Institute. Representatives from public, charter, independent and parochial schools will share information on their schools and answer questions. Families are welcome, and the Franklin Institute is offering free parking to those attending.
CCRA met with Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams and discussed a number of neighborhood issues. Among the most timely was the installation of new and refurbished Big Bellies, scheduled for mid to the end of October. All the units will be combined trash and recycling units. All new units will have footpedals; refurbished units will be designed with openings and no handles. CCRA will be canvassing the neighborhood and recommending additional locations. If you would like to participate in this survey, please contact the office. We will keep the members informed as more is known about the installation specifics.
CCRA learned that the Philadelphia 9th Police District is looking to hire 10 new bike officers. While this is great news, we also learned that the bike officers have to pay for their own specialized bikes and equipment. The money does not come from any city funds. The cost is approximately $3,000 per bike officer.
The CCRA Board is considering making a donation to the 9th District to help shoulder these costs. In connection with this effort, we are also soliciting additional funds from our residents and local businesses.
If you wish to contribute, please make your check out to “9th Police District PDAC” and forward it to the CCRA office at 1608 Walnut Street, 12th Floor, Philadelphia, PA, 19103.
The issue of criminal activity in the area around 15th Street, from Market to Pine Streets, has been a matter of concern for some residents. Many people are particularly worried about drug activity occurring in this area from 11pm to 3am from Thursday through Saturday nights.
CCRA is pleased to report that the new Captain of the Philadelphia 9th Police District, Robert Ritchie, has been able to secure much needed extra police resources in this area. That is something not easy to do in a city, like Philadelphia, with tight budgets, and in a police district that is quite large. As a result, the police have been able to increase arrests in the area around 15th Street.
Residents with specific concerns about the 15th Street Corridor or other policing issues are invited to attend the monthly 9th District Town Hall, which is held at the Precinct located at 401 N. 21st Street (by 21st Street and Pennsylvania Avenue). The CCRA Government Relations Committee regularly sends two (2) members to attend these meeting
We will keep you apprised.
Even if there had been attempts by a jingling ice cream truck to lure them away on a hot night, it would not have deterred the long line of adults and children at Markward Playground at 5:30 P.M., Wednesday, July 12. They were waiting for the much anticipated event - The Friends of Firefighters, sponsored by CCRA’s Education and Family Committee.
For the third year in a row, Philadelphia firefighters from Engine 43, Ladder 9, at 2101-14 Market Street, parked their fire truck at Taney and Pine Streets and welcomed children of all ages to explore their world. The firefighters helped children try on their gear and sit behind the wheel of the fire truck and answered their questions. Just as their visit was winding down, the firefighters were called, and the engine had to zoom away, sirens blasting to fight a real fire. Wide eyed kids and adults said it all!
July 12, 2017
Contact: The Reverend Donna L Maree, Trinity Memorial Church: 330-766-5904
What: Concerned faith leaders from Center City will gather at the tree on 18th and Lombard to pray and publicly challenge the act of hate perpetrated to instill fear in African Americans and in our city.
Why: On Thursday, July 6, a noose was found hanging from a tree on the southwest corner of 18th and Lombard. This abhorrent act will not divide us. Though the hate crime was directed at our African-American sisters and brothers, it was also an attack on the values of tolerance and diversity upon which Philadelphia was built and that Philadelphians hold dear.
When: On Thursday, July 13 at 6 pm at 18th and Lombard St., Center City friends and neighbors are invited to “take back the tree” through acts of love and prayer. “We will make a witness of solidarity and concern for our sisters and brothers who are the targets of this hate crime, and we will make a statement that this sort of intimidation cannot be part of the city or the world we build together,” said Rev. Donna Maree, of Trinity Memorial Church at 22nd and Spruce Streets. (Rain date: July 14 at 6 pm)
On July 20 at 7 pm a public forum will be held to educate and inform residents about the severity of this act of intimidation, and to offer the opportunity for everyone to talk about its effects. “We will demonstrate that we will not be silent in the face of racism or complacent in our response to a challenge to community,” Rev. Maree added. The forum will be held at Trinity Memorial Church, 2212 Spruce Street.
Interfaith clergy leaders of Center City Philadelphia meet regularly for conversation and to plan events to draw together neighbors in order to build a better community. The group represents Buddhist, Christian, Humanist, Jewish and Muslim traditions, drawn together with the Center City Residents Association.
Emergencies: In the event of an emergency or the need arises to have police officers dispatched to your location to take a report or address something happening in real-time on the street or inside of your building, persons are asked to call 911. If you want to act as a complainant, please tell the 911 operator this and provide your exact location so that a police officer can meet you and take a report from you.
Non-Emergencies: Call 311 or the 9th Police District at (215) 686-3090. If calling the 9th District, ask to speak with the Community Relations Officer, who is the contact at the station for any community issues that needed to be addressed. In the event that the Community Relations Officer is unavailable, please ask instead for the Victim’s Assistance Officer.
Panhandling and Homelessness Issues: Residents should not call the police department unless the panhandling is aggressive and/or someone is obstructing the sidewalks. Depending on how aggressive the person is, this is typically not a 911 matter and the Homeless Hotline should be called instead at (215) 232-1984.
Monthly Town Halls: Captain Ritchie invites all residents to attend his monthly Town Halls, held at the 9th District Precinct (401 N 21st St, Philadelphia, PA 19130). Free parking is provided outside of the 9th District for anyone attending the Town Hall meeting. To learn when these meetings will be held, go to the 9th District website.
NOTE FOR ALL RESIDENTS: The 9th Police District territory is very large, including some high crime areas, which often take momentary priority. The officers and staff of the police have many duties and obligations to all citizens who reside in, work in, or come to visit places located within City, including Center City.