PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As shoppers, diners, tourists, commuters and pedestrians re-converge in greater numbers in Center City, a safety program is expanding an unarmed bicycle patrol in the evening hours there.
“As we’re coming out of this pandemic, to really reinforce recovery, the more we can do, the better,” said Paul Levy, president of neighborhood development nonprofit Center City District.
Levy said, last month there were more people on downtown streets than at any time since the pandemic began.
“In the month of March we had more visitors, shoppers, tourists and convention goers; we had more residents; and we had more office workers walking on the sidewalks in Center City than any time in the last two years,” Levy said. “So, recovery has clearly been underway. We are up to 51% of the office workers that we had here pre-pandemic.”
Over the last 18 months, CCD deployed a 15-person unarmed bicycle patrol between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. Now a second, six-person shift has been added to patrol from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Alysia from North Philadelphia, who was strolling through Dilworth Park, said she likes knowing that there is an evening bike patrol out there.
“I think the safety patrol is good for Philly right now, with all the gun violence. Extra eyes!” she said.
Levy said their focus will be around downtown entertainment spots, cultural institutions and restaurants.
“The police have foot patrol and bike patrol out there, but given the challenges in the city, we wanted to have extra patrol out there. If there is a serious issue, [the bike patrols] are right on the radio. And the radios are monitored by the Philadelphia police,” said Levy.
Fundraising is under way to increase the added evening patrol from six members to 12 in the near future.