Calls for more subway patrols

April 4, 2008 9:18:29 PM PDT
With SEPTA riders voicing extreme concern, now there's a call for the re-deployment of a disbanded special police transit unit. "It could have been me. It's really frightening. It really is," said Arnetta Jones.

"I mean this is happening over and over again," said Babbette Hafeez.

"I'm scared anymore. I'm afraid," said Debra Miller.

Clearly the latest attack on a woman in the Gallery just as she stepped off the subway has sent a chill through many commuters.

The young mother of two was pummeled to the ground, knocking her teeth out. So far only 5 of the 12 attackers have been arrested.

"I can tell you one thing, those young people when they are apprehended are going to pay a heavy price. They won't be laughing for very long," said District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

Most of the people with whom we spoke would welcome that, but there's something else many are saying.

"The mayor should have more police officers down here," said Diane Poehler.

"A little more police activity in the Center City station areas," said Dexter Davis.

The police commissioner seems to get the message.

"I don't believe in letting things getting out of control. You start to see a spike, you deal with it right away and save yourself a lot of problems later on. So hopefully we'll get a handle on it," said Commissioner Chuck Ramsey.

The mayor concedes they don't have a specific plan as yet.

"We will step up patrol activities, but I mean this is crazy, stupid stuff. I don't know what it's about, but our young people need to get their stuff together," said Mayor Nutter.

For it's part, the Fraternal Order of Police is calling for the redeployment of the Philadelphia police transit unit disbanded four years ago.

The unit was formed some twenty years ago when the city was having a problem with so-called wolf packs. Gangs of teens would attack innocent victims randomly on the subway, much like what we are seeing again of late.

"We, at one time, had over 200 officers down there because that's how significant this was in the past. We've gone through this pain before and once again, unfortunately, history is repeating itself and we can't allow it to happen," said Bob Eddis.

You can expect to hear more from the FOP about that in the days to come. They understand you can't have police officers everywhere, but Eddis says they should be where they're needed most.