A relatively calm period in the far corners of Northwest Philadelphia was bolstered by several arrests in recent weeks.
On Wednesday night, police officers from the 14th Police District discussed recent crime trends in Police Service Area Four, which serves Chestnut Hill and sections of Mt. Airy.
They announced that an arrest had been in connection to a series of thefts from the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. According to departmental reports, on two occasions – March 8 and 9 – thieves entered the school located along the 8000 block of Cherokee St. Once inside, a suspect took two laptops from a mailroom and a drawstring bag containing credit cards and a cell phone.
With no signs of forcible entry, police believed that the thief entered the school by waiting for building occupants to exit.
On Friday, Mar. 15, the suspect returned, and was seen inside the building by school security personnel. Alerting police, the suspect was apprehended and taken to the Northwest Detective Division where he confessed to the thefts. In addition to the arrest, the laptops were recovered.
Sergeant Nicholas Tees, a 14th District supervisor assigned to PSA-4, praised school security for being alert and quickly contacting police with information.
“Sure enough, we were able to catch him,” said Tees of the suspect. “It was a great job.”
Assault in PSA 4
Beyond this arrest, Tees observed that the period from Feb. 20 to Mar. 19 has been comparatively quiet in his section of the 14th District.
Providing an overview of violent and major property-related crime, he said that four aggravated assaults were committed during this period, two of which were domestic in nature, of which one resulted in arrest.In addition, one assault occurred at a Chestnut Hill public school.
According to police reports, on March 11 at approximately 1:45 p.m. a student at J.S. Jenks School was “jabbed” with a pencil in the chest and back, causing scratches. The complainant, who was not identified by police, was involved in a verbal dispute with the alleged offender prior to the stabbing.
The offender, who the report did not identify beyond being an 11 to 15 year-old female, was apparently suspended by school administrators for one day.
Property crime in PSA 4
Turning to property crime, Tees noted that two robberies were committed, one of which – the theft of an iPhone – resulted in an arrest, thanks in part to a tracking application installed on the cell phone.
Tees urged all smart phone users to install similar apps on their mobile devices to assist police in the event of a theft or robbery.
Officer Thomas Seymour observed that purloined cell phones often end up for sale on Craigslist, sometimes within hours. While noting that it was possible to search for one’s stolen property, he advised against attempting to buy back the device.
“Don’t go on your own,” Seymour suggested. “Give us a call – we’ll set something up.”
While property crimes are are down – six burglaries and five thefts from vehicles were reported in the month preceding the meeting – Tees provided a few tips that would prevent residents from unknowingly assisting home invaders.
Referencing a recent heist from a home in a neighboring Police Service Area, Tees implored residents with burglar alarms installed in their homes to register the systems with the city. The service costs $50 annually, and paperwork is available on the police department’s website, phillypolice.com.
In addition, Tees recommended limiting the distribution of keys to one’s residence, and being careful what is mentioned to guests and visitors of one’s home, especially workers.
While ascribing the reduction in burglaries to increased vigilance on the part of the public, he urged residents not to hesitate in calling police should they notice something awry.
“Elevate your guard, and call us,” said Tees. “Let us determine if they are legitimate.”