PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In an effort to cut down on crime and drugs, there’s a new plan residents and business owners in Kensington say is a step in the right direction to turn around their community.
Under the Market-Frankford Line, near McPherson Square on Kensington Avenue, is a sad sight. That is where needles and trash seem to be everywhere and serious crime is skyrocketing.
“I see violence, I see rapes, I see people hitting people,” one woman said.
“There are shootings every night,” said one man.
But now there is a plan to change the neighborhood and it starts with creating a brand new police district in the heart of Kensington’s drug trade.
This special new district would open at a closed restaurant off of Kensington Avenue and F Street, across from McPherson Square, known by many in this part of town as “Needle Park.”
“This is an effort to have boots on the ground and grab a foothold here,” said Rolando Sanchez.
Sanchez is the director of the Kensington Business Association, whose organization is working with a variety of community leaders to open the new district.
“This is not just a police thing. This is in partnerships with many of our partners, including the Department of Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Services,” Sanchez said.
The final plans are still being worked out but Sanchez believes it could open by December or early next year, after City Council approval.
Sixty to 80 officers would work foot beats in the corridor, step-by-step hopefully changing this area for the better.
“We want to see it thriving and we expect it to happen and this is a very giant leap of a first step,” Sanchez said.