Roundup of the 14th District’s monthly Police Service Area meetings

 Capt. John Fleming and Officers Thomas Seymour and Kim Harris speak with residents at A PSA-4 meeting in May. (Matthew Grady for NewsWorks)

Capt. John Fleming and Officers Thomas Seymour and Kim Harris speak with residents at A PSA-4 meeting in May. (Matthew Grady for NewsWorks)

Among the geographically largest patrol areas in the city, the 14th Police District covers a large swath of Northwest Philadelphia, spanning from southwest Germantown to Chestnut Hill and West Oak Lane.

The district is divided into four patrol regions known as Police Service Areas, each supervised by a Lieutenant.

Here are highlights from the most recent monthly public meetings conducted by police in each PSA:

PSA-1

Lt. Anthony Buchanico is ranking officer in PSA-1, which contains sections of East Germantown and West Oak Lane.

In the waning weeks of summer, he observed that there is often an uptick in disorderly behavior and crowds, with increased noise complainants as air conditioning units are removed from window stills. Additional manpower has been assigned to problem-prone areas.

Buchanico also said violent crime continues to decline in his sectors, with violent incidents typically taking the form of targeted acts, as opposed to random violence.

He said most current activity occurs  along the border with the neighboring 35th Police District in the Logan neighborhood. Dedicated patrol cars and “park and walk” foot beat officers have been assigned there.

Cell phone thefts and robberies continue to plague much of the city, and PSA-1 is no exception. Buchanico urged residents to be aware of surroundings when using mobile phones.

PSA-2

In PSA-2, which contains sections of Central and East Germantown, Lt. Brian Murphy said that the intersection of Germantown and Chelten avenues occupies significant police attention.

Congestion, magnified by the transient nature of the location, results in disorderly behavior that requires constant monitoring by cops on patrol, he said.

Into the residential areas, Murphy said that theft from vehicles is a problem, particularly late at night.

With the start of the school year only weeks away, officers in PSA-2 are keeping an eye on school-aged children and the transit corridors they use, noting that fights often break out at the beginning of the year.

While there will be two fewer school buildings and students to watch over — Germantown High and Fulton Elementary, now shuttered, are both in this PSA — several schools remain, requiring additional manpower resources.

PSA-3

Overseeing West Mount Airy and sections of Germantown, PSA-3 is also experiencing ongoing difficulties with theft from vehicles. Averaging approximately one such break-in per day since the beginning of August, residents are advised to remove valuable from their cars.

Police there have averaged approximately one the theft from vehicle-related arrest per week.

While no spikes in burglary stats and negligible amounts of violent crime, a handful of cell-phone robberies have occurred along major thoroughfares of Germantown Avenue.

While Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum voiced concern earlier in the year about the potential for disorderly crowds of school–aged students roaming the street, these fears have proven to be unfounded. Similarly, he related that violations of the city’s curfew are “under control.”

PSA-4

Serving Cedarbrook and Chestnut Hill, the 14th District’s outermost and generally quietest PSA has experienced a handful of property crimes and virtually no violent crime.

From July 20 to Aug. 20, police reported 12 thefts from vehicles and 10 burglaries.

Lt. Michael Whaley said on Wednesday that there was no distinct pattern to the car break-ins; crime mapping indicated that burglaries were oriented toward Cedarbrook and East Mt. Airy.

One commonality shared among the burglaries was that entry tended to occur through side or rear windows and doors, which are less visible to the street and sometimes obscured by landscaping.

One robbery occurred on the 1800 block of E. Washington Lane, and two aggravated assaults were recorded during 30-day period. Both of the assaults were said to be domestic in nature.

“Our numbers aren’t too bad,” observed Whaley of the criminal activity in his PSA. “But, like I always say, one job is always too many for me.”

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