Law and order top agenda at Northwood

A pair of top prosecutors talked law and order at the November meeting of the Northwood Civic Association.

District Attorney Seth Williams and Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson, chief of the office’s Northeast bureau, were on hand for the session.

Williams, who was elected in 2009, explained how he created six divisions within the office to prosecute cases geographically.

Gilson, who attended the meeting despite being on vacation, works with 10 assistant district attorneys on crimes in the 2nd, 7th, 8th and 15th police districts. He’s been with the office for 25 years, including 17 as a homicide prosecutor.

The local team works closely with police officers, detectives and community leaders to exchange information in an effort to prevent and solve crimes. Gilson said one crime on the rise is the theft of cell phones from youths by groups of other young people.

The prosecutors encouraged the public to contact the Public Nuisance Task Force at 215–686–5850. The unit handles drug houses, marijuana stores, nuisance bars and houses of prostitution.

Williams, who served 10 years as president of the Overbrook Park Town Watch and Civic Association, said many crimes are preventable. He cited thefts from open and unlocked garage doors, and cars stolen when the driver leaves the key in the ignition to make a quick stop at a store.

The district attorney had a note of caution for Christmas shoppers who place bags in their cars before going into another store.

“Put them in the trunk, please,” he said.

Williams hopes the state will allow the city to set certain gun laws, such as limiting the purchase of guns to one per month.

The DA also hopes the city increases funding for the police department and his office.

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The civic association voted unanimously to approve a $1,000 donation to the board that is trying to resurrect the New Frankford Community Y. The money will go toward an outstanding $1,800 electric bill.

The Y closed in 2009 due to a lack of membership and state funding.

New leadership recently stepped forward to preserve the building. Beneficial Bank is waiting for board president Frank Bennett, vice president Kristy Schneider and others to produce a business plan.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to New Frankford Community Y, 4700 Leiper St., Philadelphia, PA 19124.

For more information, check out the New Frankford Community Y page on Facebook.

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Lou Grow, a director at Turning Points for Children, explained that the agency is considering relocating from its Center City headquarters to somewhere in the Northeast. Turning Points offers skills and resources to help families raise safe, healthy and educated children.

For more information, call 215–875–8200 or go to

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Joe Krause ran unopposed for another term as the civic association president. The new vice president will be Tom McAvoy. The directors will be incumbent Lou Kubik, and newcomers Ron Allen, Mary Robus, Ed Martin and Frank Bennett.

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The civic group will consider legal action if a resident of the 900 block of Foulkrod St. does not stop selling used cars on the block.

The presence of the vehicles limits parking, neighbors argue. The business is also located in a deed-restricted area that permits only single-family housing.

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The district office of state Sen. Tina Tartaglione has a Toys for Tots collection box. The office is located at 1061 Bridge St.

The community is invited to drop off new, unwrapped toys weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 17.

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Northwood Civic Association’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., at St. James Lutheran Church, at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street.

The owner of a proposed hair salon at 5260 Castor Ave. will give a presentation, and a vote will follow on whether to approve or reject her effort to open. ••

Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215–354–3034 or