Today is the soft-release launch of PhillyBlotter, the crime report and research-analysis tool that’s stuffed into a smartphone app.

What is it?   Well, let’s take a look.


Those of you who grew up in Philadelphia may have no idea what a police blotter even is since one has never really been published before in the city except for small fits and starts in neighborhood newspapers.   A police blotter is a log of police activity including crimes and arrests made.   Small town newspapers have published police blotters as long as there has been newsprint—it’s great column filler and it attracts readers who want to know what is going on with crime and the police department.

Philadelphia (or any big city) is far too large and dense to have a comprehensive police blotter published (just look at that map above for the past 10 days).   There’s not enough trees to kill to publish a running listing of what the police are doing.   That’s where PhillyBlotter comes in.

PhillyBlotter is an app that combines basic crime reports from the Philadelphia Police Department* with arrest information from the Philadelinquency CourtWatch system that’s been around for a year.   When both are combined together you can get a very powerful look into what’s actually going on with police activity in any part of the city.

Police blotters also help keep eyes on police activity so community members can stay engaged and up-to-date.  If your community has a town watch, this is right up your alley.  For instance, if a rash of burglaries is happening in your neighborhood, you’ll be able to see it right away.  It might prompt you to ask more detailed and pointed questions at the next police representative that comes to your community group meetings.   Is there a pattern to these burglaries? Is it just the same people hitting a bunch of different properties or is it different people each time?  What can we do to deter it?  You get the picture.

The app is also neighborhood-aware.   That’s because it’s been coded by a Philadelphian and over 130 Philadelphians have been beta-testing it since September.   PhillyBlotter has been programmed to know over 105 Philadelphia neighborhoods and where they are.  You can select a neighborhood police blotter specific to your own neighborhood or you can mix and match up to three neighborhoods and combine all the crime data together on one screen.   Don’t know which neighborhood you live in?  PhillyBlotter can tell you if you set your primary location in the app.

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Sometimes though on a police blotter entry you’ll see a little police icon in the listing, like this:


That means there is an arrest record in the court system that’s tagged to that crime report.  Both will display if you hit it.

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You can go straight to the Commonwealth court system to view the public docket records.   As always, returning-citizens needing help to suppress and expunge their arrest records can use the Courtwatch Arrest Termination Form to sequester their arrest record (provided it is 45-days past the arrest date).  Suppressing an arrest record on Courtwatch also makes it invisible in PhillyBlotter.

Crime searching is also something you can do on your phone, which is hard to do on most crime websites and is nearly non-existent in mobile apps.  You’re not stuck looking only at the most-recent data either, you can research crime going back to 2006 and arrests going back 5 years.


For instance you can search Bridesburg for all burglaries that happened there over the past summer.   You can also search by police district and PSA if you don’t want to search by neighborhood and whether or not the case has charges associated with it.   If you have a specific case number from the police you can enter the District Control Number directly and view that case immediately.   It’s easy.

The ‘One Mile’ Blotter

One of the coolest blotters is one centered just around you.    First, set your Primary Location in the app settings and then create a yellow circle that signifies the area you care about most.  The yellow area is where you will get push notifications for violent and violative crimes such as homicide, rape, burglary, robbery and aggravated assault.

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Now you get a police blotter that shows the crimes ordered by the distance from the location you have set, all the way up to one mile away.

Impressed?   You can take the app for a spin.  At $4.99 it’s available in the Google Play Store for Android phones and tablets and in the Apple App Store for iOS.

Requirements for Android:

  • Device must have the Google Play Store and Google Maps installed (Amazon-based phones and tablets that only have the Amazon store are not eligible)
  • Android OS 4.4.x, 5.x, 6.x or 7.x (and higher)
  • High Accuracy Location services enabled on the device in order to use Crime Map, One Mile Blotter and push notifications
  • 512MB RAM (minimum), 1GB RAM (recommended)
  • 120MB free space of storage

Requirements for iOS:

  • iOS version 9.3 and higher
  • Location Services

*** While PhillyBlotter displays records sourced from PPD and from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania it is not associated or affiliated with the City of Philadelphia nor the Philadelphia Police Department.   PhillyBlotter was written and maintained-by Christopher Sawyer, owner of Philadelinquency.

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Northeast Philadelphia is a bit of a red-headed stepchild in Philadelphia.  It’s unabashedly middle-class and resembles sleepy suburbia in so many ways.   It loves its bars where you have to white-knuckle the drive home and the occasional opening of some suburban chain like a Panda Express is a cause for celebration.

The Great Northeast is also stagnating; enough so that there’s not so much “Great” about it these days.

In 2015-16, crime has skyrocketed in the Lower Northeast, particularly violent crime and the narcotics trade.  Property crime has also increased north of Pennypack Park in places such as Academy Gardens.  More employers have left and most of the sitting Democrat politicians who represent the Northeast can only muster a sad tweet.

Ross 2

Enter Ross Feinberg.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Ross when I ran for Sheriff of Philadelphia last year.   This motorcycle rider has put himself up against State Senator John Sabatina Jr. for the state’s 5th senatorial district.   Ross entered politics as he, as so many other Northeasters, have been frustrated at the economic stagnation and increased blight that has slowly eaten up once-great neighborhoods like Wissinoming, Frankford and half of Tacony.

Feinberg made waves a couple weeks ago by supporting the Wheely Wheely Good food truck.  He had them cater a presidential debate watch party after hearing how Councilmember-At-Large Helen Gym went after the food truck owners and threatened to call L&I on them because she didn’t care for their truck’s design, calling it racist towards Asians [the food truck’s owners are also Asian].  To Feinberg it’s another example of the city taking pleasure trying to destroy yet another business.

Feinburg is also vehemently opposed to the Soda Tax, which takes effect January 1.

With the biggest political force in the city that was backing the tax now under FBI investigation, and new questions swirling around who gets the work trying to defend the looming tax from court scrutiny, Feinberg doesn’t want to see one more job destroyed or one more business pack up and shut its doors.

Harrisburg is currently under tight control by the Republican party.  The Pennsylvania House has not had such a large Republican majority since World War I.  The Pennsylvania Senate is also not projected to cede control to Democrats anytime in the foreseeable future.   That’s not changing with this election either, despite what your feelings on Donald Trump are.

Politically-speaking, every Democrat that Philadelphia sends to Harrisburg is nothing more than a paycheck-collector as political polarization increased.   Philly Democrats have very little influence and they can only get the most neutral of legislation passed.   To date only two people go to Harrisburg representing parts of the City and have clout in Harrisburg:  State Rep. John Taylor and State Rep. Martina White.  Both represent parts of the Northeast.

The 5th Senate district comprises more than half of the Northeast, including Port Richmond.   While John Sabatina Jr. might be a likeable guy, the reality is that he can’t get anything done.   And his willingness to even try is in doubt.

Last month Ross Feinburg challenged Sabatina to a debate and town-hall at Curran’s Irish Inn in Tacony.   Sabatina Jr. refused to respond to requests to debate from Feinburg and only agreed to debate after a column was published in the Northeast Times.   

And then, the day before the debate was to take place, Sabatina Jr. called the bar to let them know it was canceled.  Feinberg didn’t cancel.

As a former resident of Northeast Philly, I am well aware of the daily axe to grind about each neighborhood’s various problems.  But why should the Northeast support someone who is too petrified to turn up (at Curran’s!) for a couple hours to talk to neighbors and answer a few questions?

If Donald and Hillary can do it, so should a paycheck-collector.

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So this happened:


The problem with this endorsement?   It’s that it never happened.  IUPA has been endorsing Pat Toomey for Senate all year, and not just in in the primaries where Toomey faced no substantive opposition.   Take the president of the union at his own words:

“You [Senator Toomey] have always been a strong advocate for our nation’s first responders,” IUPA President Sam Cabaral stated. “While many elected officials drape themselves in the mantle of ‘law and order,’ you have stood out as a steadfast supporter of the men and women who provide for public safety. It is not a campaign slogan for you, but a promise — a promise you have always kept.”


Some fun from the PAGOP Communications Director…

Tut, tut, Katie.



This is Ramon Aguirre-Ochoa.  The City of Philadelphia found him to be a child rapist and dangerous enough to put him in jail under $500,000 bail pending trial.  He is a citizen of Honduras. He’s been arrested and released once before and the City ignored requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold Aguirre-Ochoa for a few hours before release so they could come and collect him as he is wanted by the agency.

The City of Philadelphia refuses to assist ICE in holding prisoners about to be released in time for ICE to come and pick them up, so Mayor Kenney is poised to let this child rapist back into the community once again, which is the sound policy and cause célèbre of the Sanctuary Cities movement.

Sanctuary cities are jurisdictions where local law enforcement has decided, or has been ordered by local government to ignore requests from the Federal government to temporarily hold people wanted by ICE who are about to released from prison so that Immigration and Customs Enforcement can come collect them.

It is mostly large cities which have designed these policies.  They are pushed along by immigration advocates who push a false premise that ICE operates with no legal authority and has no legal jurisdiction to detain prisoners that are on ICE lists for overstaying visas or who didn’t enter the United States legally.  It isn’t true.

The ACLU has declared ICE holds unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court hasn’t weighed in on it.  Ergo, until there’s court finality over ICE holds, as far as the legal system is concerned, they’re legal.  Which is why the ACLU is pushing to convince jurists that they’re not.

The fallacy with sanctuary city advocates sit with the very same people they’re trying to protect: convicted rapists, convicted killers and convicted child molesters.   These very same people then return to the same communities were they committed their acts–often to communities of immigrants, only to terrorize them again with more recidivism.

Because the sanctuary cities policy is morally indefensible with hardcore felons, advocates instead deflect and incorrectly claim that ICE acts illegally, denies illegal immigrants their basic human rights and tortures them when none of that is even remotely true.

Sanctuary cities advocates say that ICE holds are illegal because there is no warrant, and if there’s no warrant then there should never be any deportations.  That’s tantamount to promoting a limbo legal status for everyone who enters the United States and stays illegally:  you can stay as long as you want, no questions asked and if you go on a mass-murder rampage–that’s fine too–because putting someone on a commercial aircraft with free sodas and a magazine to read to go back to Central America is cruel and unusual punishment.

That’s why it comes as no surprise to me to see Philly progressives and sanctuary cities advocates raising money in Center City this coming Friday for Matt Darraugh who hopes to unseat State Rep. Martina White.   White’s district is up in Parkwood and Morrell Park in the Far-Northeast where there’s few if any illegal immigrants to be found.   White is presently pressing for legislation she has sponsored to punish cities like Philadelphia that have set insane sanctuary city policies that protect hardcore felons.  Of course, Darraugh has no heft in the neighborhood in which he lives, so he’s hoping anti-Trump sentiment will trickle-down the voting machine to reach him.  He’s holding his fundraiser in Center City since immigration advocates don’t ever go to the Far-Northeast.

Even Berkeley, CA, one of the most far-left liberal cities in America has exceptions to its sanctuary cities policy.   Berkeley will honor ICE detainers for violent recidivist offenders.  ICE is informed when illegal immigrants about to be released after serving time and ICE is there to pick them up and get their immigration sorted or deported.

Philadelphia however follows the practice of Los Angeles, CA:  it has shown to local ICE officials that it will not honor any ICE detainer request for any reason, no matter how grotesque the crime.  And we’ll happily welcome those people back into the community with loving arms after they’ve done something heinous like child molestation.


That isn’t just ridiculous.  That is indefensible.