Violent Night In Philly, But Strategy Driving Down Crime

Violent Night In Philadelphia, But New Crime Strategy Driving Crime Down

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PHILADELPHIA -

It was a bloody night on the streets of Philadelphia with three people shot to death and one stabbing in less than two hours.

"We know five shots were fired from close range," said Inspector Scott Small at one of the murder scenes.

But even with those deadly encounters overnight, homicides are actually down over 40 percent this year. Shootings are down too. One of the reasons, according to Philadelphia Police, is that they're now targeting violent areas with an influx of officers; a real visible presence.

"It's a huge impact," said Chief Inspector Dennis Wilson, who heads up the Regional Operations Command North for the department. "There's a direct correlation between the amount of officers we have on the street and crime."

A case in point is the 25th Police District, traditionally one of the three districts with the most  murders each year. Crime is dropping here. To keep it headed that way, 20 new officers fresh out of the police academy just hit the streets here.

"They are areas where we've had shootings and homicides in the past and we're looking for a fast and good reduction of those numbers," Wilson told Fox 29.

Rookie Officers Christopher Ryan and John O'Hanlon will be working night patrol on foot in one of the most dangerous areas in the city. They welcome the new assignment and the neighborhood is happy to see them too.

"If it's gonna save somebody's life and cut down on the shootings, yeah I'm for it," neighbor Ivan Cruz said after seeing the new officers on the street.

Rosie Lopez has lived at Somerset and Mascher most of her life. She's tired of the shootings, murders and drug dealing. She hopes more foot patrols in her neighborhood will make it safer.

"It's about time they come around here for the safety of the neighborhood and the kids," she said.

This new crime fighting strategy is working so well that in one targeted section of this area, increased bike and foot patrols have driven crime down over 40 percent this year.

New foot and bike patrols are also being stepped up in other high crime neighborhoods. Two new police recruit classes are now being trained at the academy. They will hit the streets in a few months.

Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other high ranking commanders are hoping Philadelphia will have less than 300 homicides this year. 

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