Prostitutes, drugs & crime in North Philly

    Listen 51:46

    Hour 1

    Composite sketch of suspect. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Police Dept.

    Someone is killing women in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Four women have been strangled in recent weeks, two of them killed, near notoriously drug- and crime-filled lots, alleys and streets near Kensington Avenue under the El. The profile that’s emerging is of someone walking up to solicit prostitutes and taking them to a nearby area, where they are strangled. The crimes have shed another harsh spotlight on one of the roughest neighborhoods in the United States, and exposed the risks facing women there, especially prostitutes, many of whom are also struggling with drug addiction. Philadelphia social worker and freelance writer JEFF DEENEY has chronicled many of their lives in work published by the Daily Beast and Phawker, and he joins us to talk about what he’s seen in Kensington. Also joining us is MARY DeFUSCO of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, who helped launch Philadelphia’s Project Dawn Court. Project Dawn Court attempts to help women with repeat prostitution offenses with therapeutic and re-entry services while keeping nonviolent offenders out of costly prison terms.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal