South Street businesses close early on weekends to help curb crowds

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After several violent weekends in Philadelphia, some sections of the city are taking their own precautions to help curb crime.

On South Street, Jim's Steaks, Lorenzo and Son's Pizza, Iskabibble, and Wawa have all agreed to voluntarily close by 2 a.m. on weekends, an hour earlier than their usual business hours.

The initiative to help lessen the crowds is now in its fourth week; residents say, combined with other measures, the plan has been working.

"Part of that has been parking restrictions, part of it has been curfew initiatives," said South St. Headhouse District Exec Dir. Michael Harris.

Street sweepers are also being deployed earlier to encourage crowds to go home.

"We're trying to help the police clear the streets, get everybody home safe so they can come back the next night," Harris added.

The move also follows two shootings on South Street in June.

"It was a problem in June, no doubt about it, the violence that was going on, unacceptable," said Queen Village Neighbors Association Executive Director Lucy Erdelac.

Erdelac says residents are grateful that businesses are willing to band together even if it means losing an hour of potential revenue.

"It really does show a commitment to the community. The neighbors are so appreciative," she added.

So are visitors to the area.

"It's one of those things that's kind of depleting and defeating. Once in a while, I tell my kids stories of how we used to come out and hang out," said John Harper, a former Philadelphian now living in Dallas.

He says if it means keeping people safe on South Street, the new measure is worth it.

"I totally understand. Keep it safe for everybody else," he said.

All four businesses say they will stick to their new hours for at least the remainder of the summer, beyond that remains to be seen.
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