Sunday, November 3, 2013
Targeting South Philly's Top Criminals
Mike Newall at the Philadelphia Inquirer offers an interesting piece on law enforcement efforts to curb gun violence in South Philadelphia.
The young men had been summoned to the ornate room in City Hall because police had determined that they were the ones most likely to shoot or be shot.
After months of intelligence huddles, police and prosecutors had identified the 45 South Philadelphia corner boys who shuffled into the courtroom that spring morning as "impact players" - possible triggermen - in violent street crews.
Flanking the lectern were neighbors, outreach workers, and city and federal law enforcement officials, including Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey and District Attorney Seth Williams.
They had rehearsed their message as part of a new strategy they call Focused Deterrence, which combats gang gun violence through outreach and targeted enforcement.
They did not want them to die, they told the group. They did not want to send them to jail. They wanted to help.
But if the men or any of their friends squeezed a trigger, their entire crew would experience the weight of the law like never before. The whole group would pay. No matter who pulled the trigger.
Cops would swarm, they were warned. And there would be stiffer jail sentences, higher bails, the revisiting of stalled cases, stricter probation, and parole enforcement, and even crackdowns on child-support failings, welfare fraud, and utility thefts.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
Note: I live in South Philadelphia, but my area of South Philly is mostly free of gun violence and violent drug gangs, although we do see an occasional organized crime murder.
But I've gone out on patrol with the Philadelphia Police and I've seen the South Philly neighborhoods and other neighborhoods in the city that are plagued by drugs, drug gangs, violence and poverty. I hope this program has continued success.