By Natasha Brown
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Going back to basics to fight crime.
Only Eyewitness News reporter Natasha Brown was invited along as Philadelphia police officers set out on foot in one of the busiest districts in the city.
For these 25th District officers fresh out of the police academy, this daily roll call meeting has become the calm before the storm.
They’re about to be thrust into some of the most dangerous areas of the city. So much so that even I get suited up with a bullet proof vest before hitting the beat with them.
We’re at Kensington and Allegheny, the heart of one of the most violent districts in Philadelphia.
Foot beat officers branch out into notorious drug hot spots.
“They try to outsmart us. What we do a lot of times we’ll just change up our route, change up our routine,” Officer Franklin Wallace said.
Officer Wallace and Officer Carapucci are two of more than 100 new recruits changing the face of protecting and serving, as Philadelphia Police see a significant drop in crime by having officers walk the beat.
“We had a significant double digit reduction across the board in our violent areas. In Southwest Philadelphia, for a long time one of our most violent areas in the city, I mean was historically 120 young men would be killed on a yearly basis, and that number has been cut in half,” Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel said.
While the war on crime rages on, these officers have embedded themselves into these though communities. Their mere presence adding a sense of peace in areas normally clouded by violence.
“If you look on the streets, you’ll see a lot of older people sitting out on their steps now, the children are playing in the streets, whereas a lot of these areas were plagued with violence.”
Foot beat officers are assigned to at least six of the most violent districts in the city. They are there not only to prevent crime, but also to establish a rapport with the community they serve.