Crime statistics at PHA sites
plummeted in 2016
(Philadelphia, PA - February 8, 2017)
-The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), working closely with
residents, has achieved a stunning decrease in crime at its
Statistics just released for 2016 show
crime fell in virtually all categories, with thefts decreasing by
68%, robberies cut in half, and sexual assaults down by 78%.
Overall, crime decreased in 2016 by over 41%.
PHA made the decision to increase the
size of its police department 3 years ago after Kelvin A. Jeremiah
assumed the role of President and CEO. Jeremiah not only committed
to increasing the number of sworn Police Officers, but also
ensuring that at least 10 PHA residents would be recruited to join
"Our goal continues to be to make PHA
communities 'neighborhoods of choice'," Jeremiah said. "A
feeling of safety and well-being plays an important role in
that. The increase in the department and having a police
department that works hand-in-hand with residents to create
crime-free areas is definitely paying dividends. I want to
thank PHA's Board of Commissioners for its support, and commend
Chief Bard, the entire PHA Police Department, and the residents on
their collaboration so that everyone can have a sense of security
that all citizens deserve."
Jeremiah stated that in addition to
the PHAPD expansion, PHA invested heavily in a closed circuit
television (CCTV) security system and multilayered door entry
PHA Police Chief Branville Bard
credits involvement by residents for helping make PHA communities
"We took our cue from PHA resident
leaders who wanted us to focus our efforts strictly on PHA
communities rather than including the broader areas around our
sites," Bard said. "Having our officers concentrated at our
developments has allowed us to increase community engagement and
work more closely with residents."
Another initiative that has
contributed to the trend is PHA's decision to recruit PHA residents
to the PHA Police Department. Once hired, these men and women
undergo the same training as Philadelphia police officers. An
officer who will soon graduate from the police academy will bring
the total number of resident officers to eight, all of whom are
assigned to their home developments and others. They are fully
accredited full-time sworn officers.
Chief Bard says they have had an
immediate positive impact. "They have roots already established in
the community, so that allows them to hit the ground running. They
know these areas very well. And individual residents feel more
comfortable going to them because they know them."
PHA enjoys an enhanced relationship
with the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD), which allows PHA to
share information and systems. Chief Bard has a close working
relationship with Philadelphia Commissioner Richard Ross and other
members of the PPD. That kind of coordination is instrumental
in helping PHA's focused efforts.
But it is resident involvement that
has made the largest contribution. PHA's Board of
Commissioners includes two resident leaders. They in turn lead the
PHA Police Advisory Board.
"We use the police advisory board to
identify and attack the big problems," Bard said. "We work with
these leaders on tough issues. Based on their feedback, we moved to
high visibility patrols in certain areas during certain times. They
helped us focus on domestic violence, which was the source of a lot
of our aggravated assault and child safety. This partnership is
working very well."