Category Archives: Crime and Police

Let there be light in Germantown

Outdoor lighting is an important part of making Germantown a safer place. One of the simplest things you can do to improve neighborhood safety is leave your porch light or lamp post on after dark.

In lower Germantown, both the DePaul Catholic School and Philly Office Retail have joined residents in lighting up the neighborhood and added exterior lighting to their properties.

The DePaul Catholic School on W Rockland St

The DePaul Catholic School on W Rockland St

The DePaul Catholic School property had become a problematic hangout for teens after hours, the site of vandalism and violent incidents. In response to resident concerns, school administration installed lights to the exterior of the building facing both the unit blocks of W Rockland St and W Logan St. The new lighting has made a big impact and helps brighten what was a very dark part of the block. Special thanks to Aldo Cavalli with Independence Mission Schools, Sister Bernadette Miller, and Vice Principal Stephen Janczewski for working with the community.

Just up the block on Germantown Avenue, the buildings at developer Ken Weinstein’s Wayne Junction Campus are also getting new exterior lighting (don’t call it the former Germantown Settlement campus anymore!). The photos don’t really do the change justice. If you go by this week, you’ll notice a big difference.

If you don’t have an exterior light where you live, consider leaving a first floor light on and join the cause! Well-lit streets are more inviting to pedestrians, make people feel safer and discourage criminal activity.


West Rockland Street Crime Alert October

Crime Watch LogoThis May we began compiling a monthly crime alert for W Rockland Street after noticing an uptick in robberies, burglaries and theft nearby. We attend the monthly 39th District Captain’s Town Hall and local Police Service Area (PSA) meeting but weren’t sure how much information ever reached block residents who can’t or don’t regularly attend meetings. Each month, the crime alert is printed and distributed as a flyer to every house on the block. We know its now December, but here is a copy of October’s report. We’re working on updating past reports to for a complete digital record. Look for the November recap soon.

Learn more about the 39th Police District at

You can find out when and where your police district meetings are at We get our crime stats from and you can too!

>> Download a PDF of the October crime report

October Crime Alert

October Crime Alert


Crime and Safety Update with Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Tuesday, September 25

Police Crime Scene Unit, W Rockland Street shooting

Crime is rising in Germantown. That’s a fact. Get involved. Community meeting on Tuesday, September 25 at 6pm will feature 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, U.S. Attorney Robert Reed (Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office), Captain Verdell Johnson, 39th Police District.

First Presbyterian Church, 35 West Chelten Avenue. Directions. RSVP at 215-686-3424, / Or better yet, just go.


The Saddest Thing: Gunfire claims the life of block resident

Police Crime Scene Unit, W Rockland Street shooting
We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Bryan Jones, a lifelong resident of W Rockland Street. Bryan was murdered on Friday, August 17, 2012 while sitting on the porch of his family’s W Rockland Street row home. Bryan’s death by gun violence was both tragic, senseless, and premature. His passing is a terrible loss, and he will be greatly missed by many.

By early Saturday morning, four people in Philadelphia had lost their lives to gunfire. Bryan Jones was the 226th person murdered in Philadelphia in 2012. This is an epidemic (see #GunCrisis: Philadelphia).

We can do better, Philadelphia, here on W Rockland Street and across the city.


WHYY’s | Aug. 21, 2012 | NewsWorks talks with family, friends, and neighbors

From the article >>To Helen Jones, who works in a behavioral-consultant capacity with the school district, her brother’s killing serves as further evidence of a lost generation.

The conversation hearkened back to the gang wars of the 1960s, the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and how today’s African-American males in their teens and early 20s have grown up surrounded by a culture that seemingly devalues life.

They grasped for seemingly impossible answers.

“They’re mad. They think there’s no place for them. They won’t talk about their feelings because they’re told they’re not tough if they do,” she said. “They feel unappreciated, and that hurts.”

Philadelphia Daily News | Aug. 22, 2012 | Cop and 5 others killed over weekend, but just 1 arrest made

From the article >> “In one of those cases, Diane Jones, whose brother, Bryan, 47, was fatally shot Friday night on his porch on Rockland Street near Germantown Avenue, in Germantown, said Tuesday that more could be done in the case. Diane, 54, was in the house when Bryan was shot multiple times by a heavyset man wearing a polo shirt.She said that although homicide detectives came to the house after the slaying and have been in touch by phone, she has not seen them canvassing the neighborhood or following up on leads she said she gave them.”

As of September 5, 2012, no arrests have been made in the murder of Bryan Jones.

Police Crime Scene Unit on W Rockland Street

Police Crime Scene Unit on W Rockland Street

Bandit Sign Crackdown!

A familiar scene in Philly neighborhoods.

By Ainé You’ve seen them. Let’s just take the intersection of Wayne Avenue and Berkley in Germantown near Wayne Junction. It’s full of the sloppy, bright, ugly, stupid signs offering to buy your house in cash, repair your roof, install a phone line, give you cash for gold, unclog your drain or even serve up a DNA test! The signs have been termed “Bandit Signs” and street spam. I’d have to say, the majority of them are “real estate” signs preying on people who might have mortgage trouble or need quick cash and are forced to sell their homes. Some are even hand-written. You can find them on fences, telephone poles and even trees.

This isn’t a Philadelphia problem – it’s worldwide. Check out, a national organization dedicated to helping people eliminate street spam (the tools section is full of sign removal tips!). Here’s another cool resource for street spam information in New Orleans:

A big thank you goes out to Christopher Sawyer in Kensington. When we saw his story on CBS Eyewitness News it reinvigorated our campaign against bandit signs! Check it out:

Philadelphia Man Takes Stand Against Illegal ‘Bandit Signs’

“Someone has to clean up this litter, and I’m not getting paid for it, and there’s only a few people at the City cleaning it up,” said Christopher Sawyer in a comment on the CBS Philadelphia website. “I want to help the word “Filthadelphia” fade away into a long forgotten memory. Like short dumping and the ugly non-artistic graffiti tags, if nobody cleans it up: who will? Cleaning up Philadelphia starts with ourselves, and we have to start somewhere.”

Bottom line. Street spam is ugly and illegal. Keep your eyes peeled around Germantown as we organize and begin removing it! Down with street spam! Up with the neighborhood!

PS: A clever soul nearby 12th and Poplar found a very creative use for these signs: We Bird Houses

Neighborhood News: Dog-fighting ring found in Germantown

Just read this story in the Philadelphia Daily News about an illegal dog-fighting operation happening just a few blocks away from W Rockland Street.

Dog-fighting ring found in Germantown

Philadelphia Daily News
By DAVID GAMBACORTA | March 26, 2009

Police found drugs, chewed up pit bulls and training equipment for a dog-fighting operation in a Germantown barbershop on Thursday night.

Narcotics Capt. Debra Frazier said officers raided the Lil Man Barbershop, on Germantown Avenue near Wister Street, and confiscated one pound of marijuana and one gram of crack.

The cops found a homemade treadmill, weights and two pit bulls – one of whom was scarred with bite marks – in the basement of the shop, Frazier said. Officers with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were called to the scene and took both dogs.

“It appeared to be a training operation,” Frazier said. The Department of Licenses and Inspections posted a cease operations order in the shop.

Jermaine Russell, 20, Leslie Norris, 40, and Richard Vaughn, 20, were arrested at the scene, Frazier said. Both Vaughn and Norris worked at Lil Man.