Philadelphia police step up patrols with big city events this weekend after South Street mass shooting – CBS Philly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Safety is a priority right now in the city. Philadelphia hosts a number of big events this weekend, including the Flower Show and the Odunde Festival.
Philadelphia police will step up patrols this weekend, according to the mayor. On top of that, some businesses along South Street say they are also making changes.
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“We have reduced our hours,” said Eraz Adoni, owner of Eyechic.
South Street stores, like Eyechic, Fossettes Boutique and others, are now closing one to two hours earlier after last week’s shooting.
“Just to be sure. Because you don’t know what’s going to happen on South Street. Anything can happen at any time,” Adoni said.
Many neighbors are also fed up with crowds spiraling out of control and ATVs speeding through the streets.
“Something has to start happening. So we all see it as neighbors and businesses so they know we’re not going to put up with this anarchy,” said John Smyth of Friends of the Mini Police Station of South Street.
Area business owners echoed that sentiment at the South Street Headhouse District’s monthly meeting on Wednesday.
“We are witnessing unprecedented behavior,” one man said.
So we took those concerns directly to the mayor.
“I don’t think there is anarchy in the city. We made 6,000 arrests last year and removed 6,000 guns from the streets. It’s not anarchy,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Many people who live around South Street say seeing the extra officers makes them more comfortable.
Officers were posted on every street corner Friday night to help tackle crime.
“It’s nice to see them. I definitely feel safer,” Jayne Bird said.
Eyewitness News spotted police patrolling by car, bicycle and on foot. These extra pairs of eyes were added after last weekend’s mass shooting.
Investigators say 12 people were injured and three people were killed, including bystanders Alexis Quinn and Kris Minners.
People interviewed by Eyewitness News said the added security offers a sense of relief after the barrage of bullets ripped through the streets.
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“We think the collective presence of police protection makes a big difference to the chaos that was going on here,” one man said.
“I feel really safe. Feel much better,” said Ivy Cheng, owner of Jade Fashion Boutique.
Cheng says customers called her after the shooting.
“Am I safe to come to South Steeet? Am I safe to come to your store for shopping? said Cheng.
Even the youngest noticed the increased presence.
“We are not afraid because the police are good,” said one child.
Kenney says that while the officers will be more visible, the city is struggling to hire them.
“The problem we have, frankly, like every other city in the country, is getting people to want to be police officers. We have lost hundreds of officers for many reasons,” Kenney said.
In the meantime, there are plenty of big events happening in the city this weekend, like the Philadelphia Flower Show and the 47th Annual Odunde Festival at 23rd and South Streets.
“The neighborhood missed it,” one man said.
This will be the first time the festival has returned since 2019. Large crowds are expected.
But safety is a priority for many festival-goers, especially after filming last week.
“Just being in big crowds is always in the back of your head now,” said Grace Tavern owner James.
Festival organizers say they are taking precautions.
“The Philadelphia Police Department is doing a terrific job and we have also hired an additional security company,” said Odunde Festival CEO Oshunbumi Fernandez-West.
Philadelphia police are still investigating the shooting that took place on South Street last week. Officers have made four arrests so far.
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CBS3’s Matt Petrillo and Kerri Corrado contributed to this report.