Hoot: After Three Teen Melees, Five Reporters Add Context.

The article “City vows tougher charges after teens rampage again,” in the March 4 issue of the Inquirer focuses on how teens went on a third rampage throughout the city in two months, and as a result, more police will be put on the streets.

I thought that the article was very thourough and well written; with five contributing writers, I would hope that they would be able to gather enough information to write a good story.  The reporters talked to school district officials, police spokesman  Frank Vanore, a spokesman for the District Attorney, and witnesses to the latest incident.

One thing I found interesting was that when Everett Gillison, the deputy mayor for public safety, said that this was an isolated incident and not the result of rising crime rates in Philadelphia.  Really, guy?  The third time teens have run amok through Center City, and it’s an isolated incident?  In what world does that make sense.

I think the reporters do a good job showing how idiotic that statement is, by revisiting the past two incidents, and the one from last May which happened on South Street, to put this latest event into context, and talking to eyewitnesses who were there.

The message of their story seemed to be: if Center City isn’t experiencing a rise in crime, why are some people who live and work there every day suddenly afraid to go leave their homes and offices during lunchtime?

One thing I would have like to see is someone from the school district who can talk about what they’re doing to crack down on truancy.  Obviously these kids should have been in school when these incidences took place.  We hear from Philadelphia Police that they are attempting to put more officers on duty in Center City, but what is the School District doing to get these kids off the streets in the first place?

Something else I would have liked to see: a breakdown of crime rates in Center City over the past few years.  Has it actually gone up, or are these truly “isolated incidents?”

– Renee Cree

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