Bruce Springsteen sings a haunting song about the demise of once-great Asbury Park called “My City of Ruins.” He might as well have been writing about the city across the Delaware River: Philadelphia.
This weekend, 11 more people were murdered on the streets of Philadelphia, bringing the total number of people killed so far in 2007 to 127. At this pace, Philly is on track to overtake Camden (just across the river) as the country’s murder capital.
I’ve lived in the suburbs of Philly for about four years now. I’ve gone to Philly for concerts, for dinner, to see art exhibits. I’ve seen some of the good that this once-great city can offer. However, all the rock stars, Superbowl and World Series rings, restaurants or world-renowned artists don’t overcome the murder rap that Philly is increasingly becoming known for.
This is more than a crime problem for Mayor John Street. It is now a PR and economic crisis. Philly was on the way to a resurrection. It is time for Street, his police force and his PR counselors to act swiftly and overwhelmingly to put an end to the violence and restore confidence in Philadelpia.