The Philadelphia Housing Authority is beefing up its police force.
Nearly 50 new police recruits have taken their oaths of office, marking the first expansion of the force in more than a decade.
Philadelphia Housing Authority CEO Kelvin Jeremiah says the agency is repurposing existing dollars to increase the number of police officers on the force after hearing from residents who say they don’t feel safe in authority apartments.
“I believe that we cannot have quality housing if the housing is unsafe,” Jeremiah said. “So we looked critically at safety and security and found over $10 million that we appropriated to this initiative by reducing the contracts that we have for security services.”
The money was taken away from private security services that Jeremiah says were ineffective. As the PHA implements a community policing strategy with its officers, Jeremiah says the new patrols will be highly visible, walking floor to floor, so residents will see the people who are tasked with protecting them.
“They are going to see PHA police officers in cars and they are going to be doing a lot of vertical patrols on foot going through buildings to make sure that they have a presence,” he said.
Jeremiah says officers will be stationed at developments where there has been a great deal of criminal activity.