Philly residents still angry over rising crime rates

Last month, we learned that many residents of Philadelphia had shown up at a meeting with local police officials demanding answers as to why crime rates are rising. Citizens complained that they were afraid to leave their homes, particularly at night, because the streets were no longer safe. The police responded by saying that plans were in place to improve the situation and that they needed the public’s cooperation in fighting crime.

Apparently those answers weren’t good enough for everyone and the problems haven’t abated. This weekend, hundreds of people packed one of the public parks despite heavy rains, determined to take action for themselves. Local elected officials attended the event as well.

“The crime is running rampant and nobody wants to stand up and combat that,” Anthony Giordano said.

Like many in Philadelphia, Giordano is fed up with the violence in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

That’s why he started this grassroots movement to put an end to gun violence.

“We need to reach out to the African American community and I need to reach out to the Latinos and the Asians because if we all stand together and unite we’ll have a voice in a city that will be heard,” Giordano said.

This brief video report from CBS captures some of the action from the rally and provides background on recent criminal violence.

The organizer of the rally is named Anthony Giordano. Frankly, I’m a little surprised that the PC police haven’t come to cancel Anthony yet. If you watched the video, you probably noticed that Anthony is a white guy. And at least from the angle the cameras took, it looks like pretty much everyone at the rally was white and the people they interviewed all had names that end in vowels. South Philly has a big Italian neighborhood, so that’s not surprising.

But when Anthony says they need to “reach out to the African American community” (as well as Latinos and Asians), it sounds like what he’s really saying is they need to reach out to the gangs. You see, Mr. Giordano has described this campaign as an effort to end gun violence. But he’s not dealing with a gun violence problem. Well… okay. He actually is. But more specifically, he’s dealing with a gang violence problem. It’s just not politically correct to say that I guess.

This is generally not the type of problem that citizens are expected or even allowed to deal with on their own. At least, not unless you’re talking about vigilanteism, which ushers in new problems of its own. While I find it hard to believe that I’m about to say this, perhaps Philadelphia’s police should look to Baltimore for some suggestions. I realize that they haven’t made a dent in the gang violence there yet, but they are trying some innovative things this year. They have surveillance planes monitoring the streets of the city 24/7. They’ve also reached out to the federal government and brought in agents from Washington to form task forces specifically trained to deal with gang problems.

But most of all, as I wrote last month, they need to either demand better from both their mayor and the new District Attorney or replace them. They’ve spent far too much energy in apologizing to criminals and putting handcuffs on their own police. And now they are reaping what’s been sown. Philadelphia is dealing with a murder rate that hasn’t been seen in a generation and it shouldn’t be up to Mr. Giordano and his neighbors to fix the problem.