AN EFFECTIVE PLAN:
Philadelphia is currently very similar to New York City when Rudy Giuliani became the mayor in 1993 in terms of crime, namely the increasingly rising rate. While we would all love to go straight toward concentrating all of our efforts into capturing the murderers running the street, the City of Philadelphia could benefit under a different strategy.
FIXING BROKEN WINDOWS:
George L. Kelling wrote an excellent book called "Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities". When we look at the crime problem in Philadelphia, think of this: Imagine an abandoned building with a few broken windows. Over time, if the windows aren't fixed, more vandals will come to break more windows. After a while, they may even break in and become squatters. If we allow criminals to commit small and petty crimes like vandalism without much fear of getting caught or punishment, we give them every chance in the world to commit larger crimes such as murder and armed robbery. We have our current murder rate because there is no fear of getting caught.
Cities such as New York and Los Angeles have hired George Kelling as a consultant, and I will do the same if elected to have him help solve the crime problem in Philadelphia!
LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS:
Unlike our current mayor, I actually will listen to our current District Attorney, Lynne Abraham, and ask her for her ideas on how to lower crime in Philadelphia. Just like when I asked everyone on how to run for this office in the first place, I believe it's smart and effective to listen to someone with years of experience fighting crime when it comes to fighting it yourself.
ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY:
In conjunction with everything mentioned, I will also have a zero tolerance policy toward crimes such as public urination, vandalism, "aggressive panhandling", and many other offenses. Punishment for these crimes will vary. For those committing a crime for the first time, jailing may not be needed. In acts such as shoplifting, a move can be made to have the person stand outside the store they shoplifted from and hold up a sign telling everyone of their crime.
While I offer sympathy towards those who have been trapped under the influence of drugs, I have none for those who deal them. Thanks to our current drug laws, we are living under a new age of prohibition. Some states and areas of the country have, in one form or another, legalized drugs. While this is not an option in Philadelphia for countless reasons, the ban on drugs has caused gangs to form and take advantage of this demand. Thought not all drug dealers are tied to organized crime and vice-versa, an iron fist must come down to stop this! We must make tougher laws against drug dealers and sentence them to tougher mandatory minimum sentences and higher fines!
Many people are telling you what you want to hear, and that's tougher gun laws. The problem is we're not even enforcing the one's we have now. Creating tougher standards to buy a guy doesn't and will not work since if someone wants to commit a crime, they will find a way to do it, especially if the item is still easy and legal to purchase for someone else. If elected, I will have a special police patrol dedicated to nothing but enforcing current gun laws. Anyone caught with a gun illegally, either selling or purchasing, will face tough fines and 5 years in jail. We will also have a one-gun-a-month policy in the City of Philadelphia to eliminate "Straw Purchases" and reduce the number of guns on the street.
As an artist myself, I can understand the basic desire to have your art seen, and I can understand the frustration that can come from not being able to achieve it. I can also understand the basic want and desire of wanting to change the environment you live in by "decorating" various piece of property. Therefore, for one full year before the Zero-Tolerance policy is put into effect, any and all former and current vandals will be allowed to turn themselves into the police with no criminal record and no jail time, their only punishment being removing the vandalism that they caused. They will also be given a chance to create their otherwise-illegal art legally. In just one example, the city of Philadelphia will talk with the United States Postal Service about allowing the city to decorate Mail Boxes around the city. Former Vandals will be allowed to urn in a portfolio of their work and will be picked from there to decorate these boxes. Similar programs will happen as well.
ILLEGAL STREET VENDORS:
In the city of Philadelphia, we have people walking on the sidewalk or setting up shop selling assorted goods, and most of these people do not have a license. If elected, anyone doing so in Center City without a license will be arrested and their goods confiscated. We can not have people selling goods on the street without any way for our citizens to fight back. In order to sell goods on the sidewalk, you will need to file for both a business licenses and a permit to do so in a specific area. The only exception to this city-wide law will be home owners and block associations who hold flea markets, yard sales, and the like who will be able to apply for one-day permits upon request. The permit form will be very easy to fill out and will not cost anything to file. The Zoning and Licensees Board will be put in charge of all decisions.
In short, we need to revise Philadelphia Code §10-611 Sidewalk Behavior to do more; Illegal gambling and selling of goods is only forbidden south of City Hall! We must make this law take effect in all of Center City!
STEP UP AND SPEAK UP:
If you have any information on anyone selling illegal drugs, you will not have to appear in court until the actual trial. Unlike the current law, you will not have to appear at the hearings before the actual trial, such as arraignment hearings and the like. We will also provide better witness protection programs and work with the Citizens Crime Commission to fund rewards.
In this Post-9/11 world, we have to realize that there is a serious threat caused by terrorism. More likely than not, there are terrorists in this city. In order to weed them out, I will offer a $1 Million reward to anyone or any group of people who informs us of any terrorist(s) living in Philadelphia if that person is convicted. The reward will be paid out by the US Government.
We, as citizens, depend and rely on the police to protect us from the horrible criminals that plague our city. We have over 6,600 officers on the beat for 1.5 million citizens. The question we have to ask now is this: Do we need more officers? Yes, we do. But we need to make sure that we have well trained officers who are looking out for the citizens best interests. I have spoken to police officers, and they have told me that we do need more officers on the streets. When elected, I will do my best to hire at least 1500 new officers during my 4 years in office.
How many of you have called the police and have had officers arrive 20 minutes to an hour later for a crime, ranging from a simple complaint to a robbery? I have had police officers laugh in my face when I told them someone who robbed me was ready to attack me. I have known people who were arrested and put into horrible situations for minor crimes. We have a great police force, but it could be better, and it could be much more effective. We are like America in the "War on Terror"; we need more troops, but we are not getting the best.
We need to allow citizens some effective form for telling us which officers are doing their jobs and which ones are not. So I am proposing a hot line to allow citizens to call anonymously to report crooked cops. To do so, all you need is a badge number, the time of the problem, and the place. And you don't need to worry about asking for a badge number, either; all officers will be required to tell you their badge number when they are on duty before they assist you or arrest you. We will look into all of the reports and do our best to weed out the bad officers.
We need to make sure that we not only have a well-trained police force, but also a well-educated police force! When elected, I will work with Police Union in finding a way to enact new requirements for our police force. Among these will be the requirement that all Philadelphia Police Officers MUST have a College Degree! This may require existing officers to begin night school courses, and it will also require the City of Philadelphia to start looking for officers immediately to help out as well. The minimum degree will be a 2-year Associates Degree.
TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR FALSE CALLS:
Our current law, §10-804 False Reports or Alarms for Police or Fire Services, offers no punishment for anyone reporting a false alarm. If elected, I will see to it that there is a mandatory $500 fine.