Philadelphia Police Stepping Up Patrols With Big Events In City This Weekend Following South Street Mass Shooting – CBS Philly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Safety is top of mind right now in the city. Philadelphia is hosting a number of big events this weekend including the Flower Show and the Odunde Festival.
Philadelphia police will step up patrols this weekend, according to the mayor. In addition to that, some businesses along South Street say they’re also making changes.
“We pulled back our hours,” Eyechic owner Eraz Adoni said.
Stores along South Street like Eyechic, Fossettes Boutique and others, are now closing one to two hours early after last week’s shooting.
“Just to be safe. Because you don’t know what’s gonna happen on South Street. Anything can happen at any time,” Adoni said.
Many neighbors are also fed up with crowds getting out of control and ATVs speeding in the streets.
“Something has to start happening. So we all see it as neighbors and businesses so they know we’re not gonna put up with this lawlessness,” said John Smyth with Friends of the South Street Police Mini-Station.
Business owners in the area echoed that sentiment at the South Street Headhouse District’s monthly meeting Wednesday.
“We’re seeing unprecedented behavior,” a man said.
So we brought those concerns right to the mayor.
“I don’t think there’s lawlessness in the city. We made 6,000 arrests last year and taken 6,000 guns off the street. That’s not lawlessness,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Many people who live around South Street say seeing the extra officers makes them feel more at ease.
Officers were posted on every corner Friday night to help curb crime.
“It’s nice to see them. I definitely feel safer,” Jayne Bird said.
Eyewitness News spotted police patrolling by car, by bike and on foot. These extra sets of eyes were added after last weekend’s mass shooting.
Investigators say 12 people were injured and three people were killed, including bystanders Alexis Quinn and Kris Minners.
People Eyewitness News spoke with say the extra security offers a sense of relief after the barrage of bullets flew through the streets.
“We think that the collective presence of the police protection is making a big difference in the chaos that was here,” one man said.
“I feel really like safe. Feel much better,” Jade Fashion Boutique owner Ivy Cheng said.
Cheng says customers have been calling her after the shooting.
“‘Am I safe to coming to down to South Steeet? Am I safe to come to your store to shop?’” Cheng said.
Even young ones noticed the increased presence.
“We don’t feel like scared because the police are good,” one kid said.
Kenney says while officers will be more visible, the city is having a hard time hiring them.
“The problem that we have, frankly, as every other city has in the country is attracting people to want to be police officers. We are down hundreds of officers down for many reasons,” Kenney said.
Meantime, there are a lot of big events happening in the city this weekend like the Philadelphia Flower Show and the 47th annual Odunde Festival at 23rd and South Streets.
“The neighborhood has missed it,” a man said.
It’ll be the first time the festival is back since 2019. Big crowds are expected.
But safety is top of mind for many festival-goers, especially after last week’s shooting.
“Just being in large crowds anymore it’s always in the back of your head now,” Grace Tavern owner James said.
Festival organizers say they’re taking precautions.
“The Philadelphia Police Department does a wonderful job and we have an additional security firm that we hired also,” Odunde Festival CEO Oshunbumi Fernandez-West said.
Philadelphia police are still investigating the shooting that happened last week on South Street. Officers made four arrests so far.
CBS3’s Matt Petrillo and Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.