Kensington clean up: 75 new Philadelphia Police Academy graduates to aid in enforcement phase

Philly leaders are moving forward to phase two, the enforcement phase, in their efforts to clean up Kensington.

The promises and plans from city hall months ago are being put into practice in Kensington, police leaders announced Monday. More cops, more enforcement and less of what Kensington has long become known for, a place where drugs flow and crimes follow. 

"We are going to go down there and start to address what has been manifesting from the issues down there," said Police Commissioner Kevin J. Bethel. "The level of drugs, the violence that occurs there and all the things that have kept that community pretty much imprisoned for a long time."

The newest Philadelphia Police officers are set to handle the initiative as their first assignment goes right from the academy to Kensington.

"We will be moving 75 men and women from the Philadelphia police academy who will graduate next week will move into the Kensington pocket where we will start to address those drug corners and that drug activity that is causing much of the violence that we see here," Bethel continued.


Kensington Avenue remains clear as officials work to help those moved to side streets

It’s been about a week since a homeless encampment was cleared from Kensington. That section remains clear, while city officials work to get those moved to side streets into treatment and off the streets.

The commissioner's four years as chief of Philadelphia public school safety showed him how tough kids have it in the 14 schools within the Kensington section.

Especially, the elementary & middle schools close to each other in distance and with disturbing statistics.

"Connell middle school and Willard across the street from one another are number one and number three in the nation with having the highest level of shootings around their schools within 500 feet," said Bethel. "I have watched what has happened to our children down there. Our kids cannot play in that area down there. Our kids cannot walk to school down there." the police commissioner continued. 

The plan is to change both the perception and the reality that open sales and use of drugs is and will no longer be okay. Furthermore, the quality of life crimes in Kensington will no longer be tolerated and accepted, making Kensington a safe area to go to school, work and a safe environment to live in.