Stopping Center City from becoming 'flash mob city'

CENTER CITY - August 2, 2011

"It's so unpredictable and I was thinking for the first time today, driving home from work, I'm going to have to invest in some mace," Mike Kaiser of South Philadelphia said.

The city announced a coordinated effort tonight to deal with the roving and violent groups of kids.

"The bottom line is you don't walk around hitting people for no reason at all in a random way and that's just got to stop," Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said.

Gillison and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey met with other top public safety leaders for two and a half hours this evening to discuss solutions.

They announced two increased police patrols and an outreach program through Mayor Michael Nutter's 'I Pledge' campaign.

The effort which was launched last month has a list of business owners and community members who have pledged to help cut down on violence.

"We have different things we want to talk to them about the next couple of days. They will be asked to do specific things and volunteer their time to help with our youth to make sure they don't go down these paths," Gillison said.

"I think you should talk to kids about why it is they're doing what they're doing; are there funding cuts that are taking away from activities they could be participating in?" Marie Pouchnikova of Ridley Park said.

Commissioner Ramsey says he's already deployed more officers into Center City, but there will be more in the days and weeks to come.

He's also asking for help from parents.

"This isn't just a city problem, government problem, these are just people who need to learn how to control themselves and act in a responsible way," Ramsey said.

Resident Mike Kaiser says whatever it takes.

"There's so many great things going on in this city that we don't need to be known as the flash mob city," Kaiser said.

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