Months after taking command in the 16th District, Capt. Castro became actively invested in this program. Through his efforts, the University City Special District agreed to become an active member of the current coalition.
In February, the partnership established a six-month action plan. The first community cleanup and anti-crime rally targeted a four-block area at 39th and Fairmount. Month after month the WPACP has moved on high-crime areas targeted by both community members and police statistics. During all cleanup operations and rallies, Capt. Castro and his law enforcement team delivered an unmistakable message to all suspected drug houses and/or speakeasies that illegal activities would not be tolerated.
The results have been impressive. Council members Jannie Blackwell and Mike Nutter, DA Lynne Abraham and Len Ward from the Bureau of Narcotics can attest to these rallies' positive impact. Community members were energized and empowered. Information provided to 16th District police is accurate and consistent. Children from the areas impacted happily volunteer to paint over graffiti and fill L&I-supplied dumpsters with years of trash. The feeling of hope is almost tangible.
Police Commissioner John F. Timoney: Trust your instincts. Give Capt. Dan Castro a fair hearing. Don't be distracted by Philadelphia's backroom agendas. Not everybody here is invested in community policing. Take another look at Capt. Castro; you will find you have a lot in common. Both of you hate politics. Both of you like fighting crime out on the streets, side by side with true community leaders, up close and personal.
Glenn A. McCurdy is senior consultant to Turn Around America and Mantua Against Drugs.