Ever since 392 people were murdered in Philadelphia last yar, Mayor Michael Nutter and police commissioner Charles Ramsey have been on a mission to cut the city’s crime rate dramatically, reports ABC’s “Nightline.” Among the tactics: 31 cameras scanning the streets, with a warning to law-abiding citizens and criminals alike: be ready for your close-up. The city of 1.4 million eventually will have 250 cameras, intended to assist police officers like Michael Vargas and Dominic Mathis, who patrol some of the toughest neighborhoods. “I know of a couple robbery jobs that, based on the information from the camera, the person was apprehended fairly quickly,” Mathis said.
Another part of their plan seemed likely to anger some residents — officers would be allowed to stop, question and frisk citizens who looked “reasonably” suspicious. “If done right, if done well, it is a legitimate crime-fighting strategy because you are setting the public basically on notice that we are coming after illegal weapons wherever they may be,” Nutter said. With summer, typically the worst months for violent crime, two-thirds over, Nutter and Ramsey’s success is holding. “Everyone gets a little bit of a break early on,” Nutter said. “But that only lasts for so long. You have to deliver. That’s the business that we’re in.”