Residents speak out over melees

June 4, 2009 3:22:35 PM PDT
Neighbors in South Philadelphia aren't going to put up with the wild melees that have been plaguing their neighborhoods. The police commander of the South Street District is very stern as the weekend approaches.

"If anyone's coming down here with the idea that they're going to get away with some the activities of last week, we're here to address it," Lt. Gerry McShea said.

Springtime has yielded earlier than normal mob behavior along the popular tourist corridor.

Last weekend, middle schoolers trashed a convenience store, motorists were accosted at stop lights, and teens jumped on cars. As usual, the trouble spilled onto the residential side streets.

Neighborhood leaders met with top police brass today to vent and scream for help.

Authorities say the kids, some 11-12- and 13-years-old, are coming from all over town and are connected by a social networking website.

"These are very young people out there. They need to learn this is not the appropriate way to behave and the police department is there and will come down hard on this type of behavior," State Senator Larry Farnese (D) of South Philadelphia said.

After two consecutive weekends of website coordinated hooliganism, the police department has declared itself fully ready and able to restore law and order to South Street and the surrounding targeted area.

Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel says they will dramatically increase troop strength this weekend and the city's curfew law for teens will be enforced.

When darkness falls on South Street this Saturday night the police lines will be longer and stronger.

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