August 19, 2015 |
WHEN POPE FRANCIS hits Philly next month, I pray he misbehaves. Go rogue, pontiff. Throw caution and schedules to the wind and head to one of the city neighborhoods hardest hit by poverty and crime. Lots of people have suggested Kensington, but I'm not picky. Pontiff's choice - we have plenty of hurting people and places in Philadelphia. Hey, his holiness has gone off script before. In February, he made a detour on the way to a parish to stop at a shantytown on the outskirts of Rome.
August 8, 2015 |
Arrests by Philadelphia police dropped by 16 percent during the first half of 2015, the biggest plunge in six years, records show. And during the same period, all crime - including violent felonies, misdemeanors, and property offenses - increased by 5 percent, according to the latest data posted on the Police Department's website. Through June, police recorded 5,661 fewer arrests than they did in the first half of last year. Police made 34,786 arrests during the first six months of 2014; this year, 29,125.
August 5, 2015 |
YOU COULD BE forgiven for thinking Philadelphia's biggest problems have been limited recently to pope fences, a dismembered traveling robot and Chip Kelly's roster moves. Violent-crime numbers - a quality-of-life measurement temporarily forgotten in the basement of the city's consciousness - have been climbing. As of Sunday night, 152 murders had been recorded - a 5 percent increase from the same point last year, when the tally stood at 141, according to police statistics. The number of Philadelphians who have been shot has risen 9 percent, hovering at 627 victims as of last Monday, compared to 572 at the same time last year.
July 31, 2015
ISSUE | MORATORIUM Death penalty hardly tough on crime Two positives arise from the death-penalty confrontation among Gov. Wolf, District Attorney Seth Williams, and Attorney General Kathleen Kane ("Wolf calls on court to uphold his moratorium on death penalty," July 22). It keeps capital punishment under the spotlight, and it also makes it clear that many Democrats differ little from Republicans in important areas. Williams, Kane, and other tough-on-crime officials of either party seem to have given no consideration to the words of George Bernard Shaw: "It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it. Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind.
July 30, 2015 |
HARRISBURG - More victims of sexual violence will be notified if their attacker moves, takes a new job, or has other changes in his or her status as part of a new partnership announced Tuesday by state law enforcement officials and victim advocates. Under Pennsylvania's Adam Walsh law that was signed into law in 2011, the State Police is responsible for notifying victims when a sexually violent offender registers with its Megan's Law unit or if the offender changes jobs or addresses.
July 28, 2015 |
J EFFREY WALKER, the disgraced ex-cop behind one of Philly's biggest police scandals, will be sentenced for his crimes on Wednesday. But his punishment is hardly the end of a controversy that erupted about a decade ago, when attorneys first raised concerns about arrests made by the elite narcotics squad, where Walker once worked as an officer. Because, while Walker pleaded guilty and implicated his colleagues in crooked schemes to rob and beat drug dealers, those colleagues - Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, John Speiser, Perry Betts and Linwood Norman - were acquitted in May and got their jobs back earlier this month.
July 26, 2015 |
The deadly June 5, 2013, Salvation Army thrift store collapse gave rise to commissions, reports, lawsuits, a criminal grand jury probe, tens of thousands of pages of documents, and an ongoing debate about why only two people have been criminally charged in the deaths of six and injuries to 13. On Friday, a Philadelphia judge decided what the Sept. 29 murder trial of demolition contractor Griffin Campbell will not be: a public airing of the failures of city government and officials. "The mayor's, the chief of staff's public statements - what effect do they have . . . that's relevant to the state of mind of your client?"
July 22, 2015
ISSUE | FORFEITURES Seize criminals' property only I join in applauding District Attorney Seth Williams for stopping his office's practice of using the commonwealth's forfeiture laws to take homes and cars from people who have never been accused, much less convicted, of a crime ("Dirty money," July 6). However, these changes do not go far enough. According to a recent American Civil Liberties Union report, Williams' office takes $1 million in cash annually from Philadelphians who have never been found guilty of a crime.
July 10, 2015
A former employee at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School was arrested this week for having sex with a 12th grade student. Michael Evan Morse, 26, is charged with institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors, and other crimes for having sex with a female student while she was under 18. Officials said Morse, who worked as an audio visual technician at the high school, had sex with the student and communicated with her via cell phone...
July 10, 2015 |
Even the most bare-bones renovations to a vacant house - something as simple as replacing a gaping doorway or a broken window - could have an impact on violence in Philadelphia neighborhoods, a study coauthored by University of Pennsylvania researchers has found. With two years' worth of data from the Police Department and the Department of Licenses and Inspections, the researchers looked at the rates of violent and nuisance crimes around houses where property owners replaced doors and windows to comply with a city ordinance to combat blight.