By Kristen Johanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —– A new police and community initiative starts today, designed to help some Philadelphia business corridors become safer.
The pilot program is called SafeGrowth. It will address safety issues around certain commercial districts in the city.
Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel says police will work with local business to combat crime.
“It’s one thing to drive down the corridors with the windows up, and it’s another to walk through those corridors and engage those business people who are working hard every day,” Bethel says.
“Someone coming and robbing a store may be nothing to us, but that week or weeks of income that’s taken from them, could be catastrophic,” he adds. “And so we look to build a safer environment for them, how to manage those things, how to create a design to prevent those things.”
Police will work with local associations and business owners to identify what helps keep their district safe, like foot patrols.
Ileana Garcia with the Frankford Community Development Corporation says she hopes this will help neighborhoods thrive.
“For corridors all over the city that are trying to revitalize and bring people to their businesses, I think this is a great program,” she says.
She hopes this new initiative can combat some of the safety concerns she sees every day.
“Drugs, lots of addicts that hang around, especially some of the hot spots, like right under the SEPTA stops,” she points out. “We have a lot of different daycares on the corridor, and so it’s very important that area remains safe so families and residents can come to the corridor.”
Bethel agrees, and says the project is a team-effort.
“A good, safe corridor, brings in revenue. Revenues bring in people. People bring a changing of environments and design, and that’s our ultimate goal is for that to happen,” he says.