Is Philadelphia safe?

When people tell me that they are scared of Philadelphia, I always try to reassure them. I tell them that I’ve never experienced anything unsafe or frightening during the six years that I’ve lived in Center City. But then I hear about muggings in Rittenhouse Square (I met a woman who is a grad student at Penn and lives in my area and said that her classmates have been targeted repeatedly while walking home late at night), shootings on Sansom Street and a police officer who has died of injuries after being shot in a Dunkin’ Donuts in West Oak Lane.

I have always felt totally safe walking through the city, at any hour of the day and the recent events have started to shake that feeling of comfort. It now takes a concerted effort for me to walk down the sidewalk with confidence in my gait. I’m wondering how other people are feeling? Do you feel safe in the city these days?

3 Comments so far

  1. Tim (unregistered) on November 1st, 2007 @ 8:23 pm

    I’ve been a Center City resident for 5 years and a Philadelphia Metro resident for 6.

    I travel by foot/subway/RR/and taxi all over the city and because of my job, at all hours of day and night.

    The news regarding Philly’s rampant murder/violent crime rate has come to me via headlines/newscasts and blogs like this because never once have I ever felt in danger or threatened anywhere in this city at anytime.

    Even the homeless panhandlers aren’t nearly as aggressive as other places in the country. I mean, I know I don’t fit the profile of a typical victim (I’m 5’10, 160 pound white male who doesn’t get out to North or West Philly much) but I think that’s the point…this skyrocketing crime is happening to a people and to a city that is worlds away from the Philly that I live in- it’s only a handfull of city blocks really, but that world has never once intersected with my life, work or recreation here in Philadelphia.

    I guess I could be described as “sheltered” or “unaware” or even “oblivious”, but until I see the violence routinely targeting my peers in my neighborhood and disrupting my lifestyle and my family, it’s tough empathizing or even worrying about it. Sure, it’s a terrible thing for the communities that it’s happening in and for the law enforcement that is forced to get involved, but in my Philadelphia, I feel completely safe.

  2. jen (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 9:09 am

    i went away for a week (yay, honeymoon) to find that, first, it got very cold, and second, 15th and sansom? i thought for sure that report was a mistake. personally, i’ve very rarely felt unsafe. in the very few times i have, i make direct eye contact with the person giving me the odd feeling and smile. that usually diffuses it.

  3. Al (unregistered) on November 2nd, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

    First, I would like to send out my prayers and condolences to the family of Officer Charles Cassidy. It is a disgrace that some people in this city have no respect for human life. Before I continue I would like to point out that my brother is one of Philly’s finest, for 4 years now. As I drove home today from work on I-95, to my surprise the traffic pattern was very different from what I am used to. As I drove further down 95 I realized police cruisers, unmarked police cars, and police motorcycles were everywhere, and had over taken the highway. Following all this was a very low flying police helicopter. As I drove further down 95, I made the fatal mistake of turning into the wrong lane, where one of Philly’s finest decided to scream, curse, and demean me for making a sincere mistake. He screamed at me, to my surprise as if I was his 2 year old child. I felt like I was a criminal. Correct me if I am wrong but police officers are supposed to work with the community so that the community will work with the them. He was belligerent, ignorant, rude, and a complete moron. I know that they have a very difficult job, but what gives them the right or the authority to treat people any which way they feel fit. In a city where crime is so glorified you would think Philly’s finest would reach out to the community so that we can take back our streets together. I feel this is the only way we can stop all these killings in Philadelphia. This is the primary reason people, especially people of color have such a negative perception of police officers. As I drove further down 95 I could not help but think what a waste of money and resources. Over 50 police vehicles (cruisers, motorcycles, unmarked cars, and a helicopter) used to transport a fallen hero. Instead I would have liked for the City of Philadelphia to use these valuable resources to apprehend the man who killed this fallen hero. I didn’t care that the Philadelphia Police Department closed down all of I-95 during rush hour. What I cared about was the fact that they used up valuable resources (tax payers money) to transport from the city morgue to a funeral home. I can’t even imagine what will happen when he is buried (maybe shut down the whole city). Let’s use these resources to find these criminals who are controlling this city. I will still continue to pray for the fine men and women who wear the blue uniform everyday, and who strive to make a difference, but Philly’s finest can not continue to do things the way they are accustomed to doing them, (over 300 deaths this year alone and counting ) ITS NOT WORKING. Treat people the way you would like to be treated or the way you would want one of your fellow police officers to treat your son, daughter, mother, brother, or father.

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