The grant from the U.S. Justice Department also gives Philadelphia police the money they need to redirect their efforts - at least to an extent.
The department has been heavily criticized - in these pages and elsewhere - for not quickly following New York City's example of targeting quality-of-life crimes, which depress neighborhoods and lead to major law-breaking. The money may change that.
The grant will help fund a new state-of-the-art Crime Analysis Unit that will identify specific crime patterns in neighborhoods. That kind of computerized crime analysis enabled New York district commanders to pinpoint which neighborhoods were hot spots in need of additional police.
Grant money is paying for nine breathalyzers, a key tool missing in Philadelphia's fight against drunk drivers, which the Daily News ``Hell on Wheels'' series pointed out.
The federal funds will also go to paying police overtime, buying more computers and surveillance equipment, and supporting the city's night court system.
Missing from the city's plans, however, is enhancing security measures in and around schools, one of the goals of the block grant program. Perhaps next time.
Also missing is any mention of improving the way the city keeps its crime statistics. That has to be a priority. Otherwise, how will the city respond when asked whether all this money from taxpayers has really cut crime?
Interest and principle It's not as if Philadelphia hasn't already seen most of its banks subsumed in larger corporations based elsewhere or as if the old Philadelphia banks themselves haven't grown large in part by taking over smaller banks.
Still, the proposed acquisition of CoreStates Financial Corp. by North Carolina-based First Union Corp. prompts many concerns.
What will be the effect on employment by the region's largest private employer, with 20,000 workers?
What will be the ultimate impact on availability of financing for individuals and businesses?
And how will First Union compare with CoreStates, last of the big old Philadelphia banks, as a corporate citizen of Philadelphia?
There can be differences when the needs that would benefit from philanthropy aren't where the top executives live and rear their families. What is now CoreStates prospered by helping Philadelphia to prosper. It certainly would be in First Union's direct interest, as it is, for example, for Knight-Ridder Inc., the Miami-based company that owns this newspaper and the Inquirer, that Philadelphia, its people, businesses and institutions prosper.
As for the impetus for banks to grow larger - like economies of scale achieved in the backrooms - what might that mean in an industry where service charges increasingly are structured to encourage personal banking with a machine rather than a person?
While there will be gains in certain categories of the new bank's employment here, there may be losses in others. That's the reality of economics.
The inexorable process of those large forces reflects how important it is that this region's resources go into a smart, comprehensive strategy to ensure good jobs for generations.