Philly pool in violent-prone neighborhood reopens with police presence

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The kids were back in the pool at the Belfield Rec Center in East Germantown after being shut down for over a week.

"It was fun, it was fun," said a group of kids.

The pool had been shut down because of a shooting war between two rival drug gangs in the neighborhood.

"I believe we've had 13 shootings and probably about six homicides, so this is a continuing problem we've had in the community," said Lt. Bisarat Worede.

The pool has now been reopened but on an abbreviated schedule of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and with police standing by near the pool keeping an eye on things.

"We have an officer assigned to the pool and we also have an officer who's assigned to the area of 21st and Conlyn behind the pool for added security," said Lt. Worede.

About 60 to 100 kids use the pool daily.

"I'm happy, everybody happy now, yep," said a group of young kids.

Parents are glad to see police near the pool.

"It makes me feel better that they're out here, the police, it makes me feel safer," said Anthony Rodriguez who's a father of four children.

"It makes me feel safer but at the same time, this is a neighborhood that's so bad that a cop really has to sit there while children are swimming because people are so reckless," said parent, Sakina Wert.

In a statement, the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department says it will continue to work with police and soon plan to launch cops and rec movie nights and new basketball leagues to give kids and teenagers much more to do in a safe environment.
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