Many residents in Lawncrest said they feel the same way. At June’s Lawncrest Civic Association meeting, Councilman Bobby Henon, D-6th, discussed his Bad Neighbor Initiative
. Many neighbors at the meeting complained of rental properties and absentee landlords. Some attendees suggested these properties were being used for illegal activities.
“If you have one bad apple, it can spider-web out like broken glass,” Henon said.
Data compiled and mapped by the Philadelphia Public Interest Information Network
show between 20 percent and 25 percent of homes around Lawncrest and Castor Gardens have been sold in the last five years. The numbers are roughly the same in Fox Chase, with small pockets seeing less sale activity.
Theft becomes the focus
The most significant problem spider-webbing across the entire city is the rate of theft. The FBI estimates that from 2010 to 2011, reported property crime in Philadelphia has increased by nearly 2,000 incidents.
In fact, theft was the most common crime in the first half of 2012 on the blocks we examined.
The stretch of Castor Avenue we focused on showed 21 thefts over the last six months. The swaths of Rising Sun and Oxford avenue each had 14th thefts in that time.
The blocks of 5900
- to 6700
-Castor Avenue did see more crime than any of the other corridors, as Genetti predicted. In total, there were 151 total reported crimes, including theft, breaking and entering, assault, sexual assault and robbery.
But the blocks of 6900- to 7200- Castor Avenue saw the largest number of reported crime out of the three investigated sections. From January to June, 61 crimes were reported.
Shop owners in Fox Chase agreed that there was a concern of crime in their area, but that the crime was south of many Northeast neighborhoods and typically closer to North Philadelphia.
of Oxford Avenue’s All In Time
clock and watch service and sales shop, said the 7900-block in Fox Chase is pretty quiet.
“Everything’s been good so far,” he said. “Not like further down if you go down Rising Sun. It’s a whole different neighborhood down there.”
Eighteen total crimes were reported in the last six months between the 7500-, 7800- and 7900-blocks.
The area surrounding Rising Sun Avenue had the least amount of total crimes of three investigated corridors - 52.
Perception and prevention
Genetti said she thinks the rampant thefts along Castor Avenue are due to major community displacements and larger economic problems within the city.
“There are burglaries all over the city,” she said. “We’re in an economic crisis.”
Lisa Karakasidis of Larry’s Famous Steaks and Hoagies on Rising Sun Avenue in Lawncrest said the business has had two property crimes against it. She also said the neighborhood businesses she grew up with have started moving outside the city, but new businesses were moving in.
As changes take shape, many businesses have turned to security measures to help employees and customers feel safe.
In the audio slideshow below, business owners along the three corridors discuss their security measures and whether they've been effective: