BY MARIA MERLINO/ Third Dist. Police Capt. Mike Ryan knows the importance of communicating with residents. That’s why Ryan hosted a 3rd Dist. Public Safety Conference at the Holiday Inn, 10th & Packer Avenue.
“The response time for calls may not be as fast as you like, but we are addressing it,” Ryan told the packed house.
Ryan is a couple months short of his two-year anniversary at his 11th & Dickinson office. He has seen an influx of new residents move into the district in his 22-month stint as police captain. He said it’s a main reason he has initiated the first of a series in community meetings.
“We got a good turnout,” Ryan said at the first meeting. “The civic groups are doing a great job, but what I hope to accomplish is having more dialogue among them. We’re sowing the seeds and look forward to the big-picture dynamic. Sometimes groups can be somewhat insular, but my goal is to get an exchange of ideas going so that we can get on the same page. I know this will take time and we’re trying to overcome any awkwardness with some of the major changes.”
With one of the fastest-growing populations in Philadelphia, the 3rd Dist. is an unmined gem. “Have you noticed all the New York license plates?” said Ryan. “Out-of-state buyers are loving it here. You really are getting a big bang for your buck. Our taxes to us may be high, but they are triple or more elsewhere. We have commuters and new families that are thrilled with their purchase. The urban experience is very marketable.” I myself have overheard a Realtor tell someone that South Philly is the new Center City! The 3rd Dist. is growing by leaps and bounds and with all the construction and rehabs going on, the hottest area for new development is Dickinson Street between 4th and 8th Streets.
“The 3rd Dist. is 6½ square miles and it’s mostly residential,” Ryan said. “There are a few parks, but not as large as Fairmount Park with all the trails, and we also have the Stadium area. There is, in addition, the 9th Street area and the E. Passyunk Avenue area that has restaurants and many festivals.”
Assistant Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia Ade’ Fuqua is working with Philly Rising, a collaborative organization that among other issues, tackles quality-of-life concerns. “We are in two South Philadelphia neighborhoods,” Fuqua said. “One is the Point Breeze area bounded by 19th and 20th Street and from Snyder Avenue to Reed Street. Also, since May, we have gone into Southeast Philadelphia, between 4th and 7th Streets and Ritner to Tasker Streets. One of our main focuses is alleyway cleanups, because there is a correlation between crime and grime. We’re pretty much working with city government, the police and inspectors to curb any increase in crime. We’ve taken tons of debris away because Capt. Ryan has indicated the police can’t get through when chasing after the bad guys. It’s unsafe for the officers and unsafe for the neighborhood. I wanted to know who volunteers to do the job.
“We partner with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps ( www.americorps.gov/ncc ). This is a team-based program, it’s the Peace Corps but for domestic places, with young adults 18-24. But we also need everyone to get engaged and bring a friend. We’re always looking for civic-minded individuals.”
Capt. Ryan urges residents to attend the next police district community meeting in November. Emergency management is the topic of discussion.