PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When he announced he was staying in Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said there was more work he wanted to do here.
“This is still not the city it can be,” he said at a City Hall news conference on Wednesday.
When Ramsey came to town in early 2008, his first priority seemed to be cutting the city’s murder rate, which approached 400 killings in 2007. He successfully did that. The murder rate for the last two years has hovered around 305.
Violent crime overall has matched the drop, falling 16 percent since 2007. But property crimes have only fallen about 7 percent – and even inched back up in 2010.
Ramsey said both violent and property crimes need attention moving forward, and he is reworking his citywide crime fighting plan first put in place shortly after his arrival.
“Obviously, you want to get your violent crime under control because of the injury to other people, but right now, for instance, our burglaries are up,” Ramsey told Eyewitness News on Thursday afternoon. “If you’ve ever been a victim of a burglary, that’s as serious a crime as anything else.”
Commissioner Ramsey said he hopes to have the revised crime fighting plan ready in about three weeks. He said it will help focus the police department’s resources to problem areas.
Across the city, residents and civic leaders alike praised Ramsey for choosing to stay in Philadelphia. Everyone who spoke with Eyewitness News said he’s done an excellent job during his tenure under difficult circumstances: the deaths of five police officers in the line of duty and an enormous budget crunch from city hall.
Ramsey said he is honored by the praise.
“In a job that does not always put you in the best of light, to have this kind of response is overwhelming,” he said. “It makes me know that I made the right decision.”
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Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3