NBC10 Investigators: PHA Officers Say Developments Are Routinely Unpatrolled

Officers inside Philadelphia’s Public Housing Police Department tell the NBC10 Investigators developments routinely go unpatrolled.

“We have several developments that go uncovered every single solitary night because we don’t have the manpower,” one officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.
June’s police assignment sheets show some developments with blank space next to them or the abbreviation ‘L-O-M-P’ to signal a lack of man power.
“We’re tenants. We pay rent. We deserve just as much up here as others,” Abbottsford Home’s resident Vera Miller said. 

Miller is one of 90,000 public housing residents who rely on the Public Housing Police Department.
“As chief of police it’s my responsibility to ensure that we use the limited resources that we have efficiently and effectively,” public housing police chief Branville Bard said.

June’s public housing police assignment sheets also show a ‘special detail’ assigned to watch the CEO’s residence. Public Housing police officers said the detail affects their ability to patrol housing developments.

“To take one cop to make sure that your house is watched every single solitary night I think is totally unethical when that one cop could be in a development making sure thousands of people are safe,” one officer said.

Chief Bard disagreed.

“It doesn’t have any impact, but it’s a necessary function,” he said.

An internal police memo obtained by the NBC10 Investigators says officers can break away from patrolling the CEO’s residence to check on nearby public housing developments.

Chief Bard said the ‘special detail’ is necessary because in February two shots were fired at public housing CEO Kelvin Jeremiah’s home.  No one was hurt but to date no one has been arrested.
“Mr. Jeremiah is an asset of PHA and I’m going to protect him as such,” Chief Bard said.

The NBC10 Investigators' review of three years of public housing crime statistics shows the developments with the fewest patrols in June have historically had some of the lowest arrest rates.

The Abbottsford Homes development listed no assigned patrol during the month of June.  Since 2013 there have been 43 felonies recorded and five arrests made in that development.

“I wish I had an officer for every PHA development and every PHA asset 24 hours a day, but I don’t,” Chief Bard said.

Philadelphia’s public housing police department has 70 sworn officers. Philadelphia is the largest city in the country with its own public housing police department.  New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles all consolidated their public housing police into the city departments.

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