Kensington residents gather, discuss 'Strangler'

KENSINGTON - December 18, 2010

"It's sad it took a tragedy to bring us together to stop what we know we can stop," Rudy Campbell said.

Scores of anxious worried neighbors gathered on a basketball court at the Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center.

It was a grassroots effort organized by neighbor Erin Howley.

"It's for people to have a chance from the community to express your concerns," Howley said.

For most, the main topic was the 'Kensington Strangler.'

Residents wondered why the strangler is targeting Kensington.

Leo Keller, the stepfather of Nicole Piacentini, one of the murdered victims, compared the attacker to, "Jack the Ripper, he gets girls some way, some fashion, he lures them into like a trap."

Jack the Ripper targeted prostitutes in 19th century London. The 'Kensington Strangler' works a neighborhood where neighbors say open drug dealing and prostitution are worse than ever.

Nicole Piacentini's mother, Christine, says the trafficking of sex and drugs must be dealt with.

"It is disgusting over there, something needs to be done. How many more girls is it going take to be murdered?" Christine said.

Captain Michael Cram said police are fully engaged in searching for the 'Kensington Strangler,' from talking to prostitutes to searching surveillance video.

Police have released video of a man with an unusual gait who is a person of interest.

Cram's advice to the group of worried residents is to get organized and work with police.

"The way I would like it to be is that a community group is so strong, you come in and tell me what you need and then I do it," Cram said.

Cram says that formula can work to feed leads about the killer and for dealing with the long term problems of drug sales and prostitution.

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