New Philadelphia police district opens as part of 'Restore Kensington' initiative

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As part of an initiative to "Restore Kensington," Philadelphia police have opened a new district dedicated to that neighborhood.

It officially opened back on January 24, with the goal of stationing officers and resources at the heart of the community.

"The purpose of this smaller district is to ensure that the police work closely with this particular neighborhood, which has been plagued with increased violent crime and continued narcotics issues," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. "The district has its own command structure, and a staff of several dozen police officers on bicycle and on foot."

The Kensington district will operate around the clock. It's located in a shuttered restaurant at Kensington Avenue and F streets across from McPherson Square, known in the neighborhood as "Needle Park."

Councilmember Maria Quiñones-Sánchez says this initiative is personal to her, and this effort will reflect that.

"We really are going to bring back the humanity and how we help people transition," says Quiñones-Sánchez. "Kensington residents are not new to this. Anyone who has lived in Kensington has personally experienced some of the trauma and tragedy that we see openly in the streets of Kensington."

A new "Encampment Resolution Team" was created to help address encampments as they form and connect people with city services for the homeless.

They're also providing repairs to roughly 100 homes in the area that have been damaged during recent violence.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.