Philadelphia Paves the Way in Public Safety with Innovative Crime Scene Cleanup and Blight Reduction Initiative

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PHILADELPHIA, PA — In an unprecedented move, the city of Philadelphia is set to become a national pioneer in an underexplored facet of public safety policy: the professional cleaning and sanitizing of violent crime scenes. This groundbreaking initiative will see a privately contracted vendor meticulously cleanse public streets and sidewalks marred by blood, biological matter, medical waste, and other remnants of crime scenes. The program aims to go beyond the immediate cleanup, integrating established crime reduction strategies that target environmental deficiencies and blight to enhance public safety.

Research has consistently shown that greening vacant lots, remediating abandoned buildings, and cleaning blighted areas can help reduce violent crime in impacted neighborhoods. It’s perhaps instinctive, but the most blood-soaked crime scenes—predominantly resulting from gun-related incidents in Black and brown communities—often occur near trash-laden lots and derelict properties. By cleaning these crime scenes, the city can naturally identify areas where environmental improvements are urgently and possibly persistently needed.

These sanitized crime scenes, therefore, could serve as a straightforward guide for the city to direct and prioritize its efforts to reduce blight. The responsibility to sanitize the most gruesome crime scenes in public spaces now falls squarely on the city—ethically, operationally, and financially. And it follows logically that greening trash-filled lots, securely sealing deserted properties, and ensuring adequate lighting in areas surrounding these crime scenes should be prioritized for remediation. These areas might also benefit from additional social services and outreach initiatives.

Deputy Inspector General Adam N. Geer recently echoed these sentiments in a letter to the editor submitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He underscored Philadelphia’s imminent leadership role in the overlooked area of public safety through the cleaning and sanitizing of violent crime scenes. He highlighted the potential of this initiative to point out areas requiring urgent attention to environmental deficiencies, serving as a roadmap for the city’s blight reduction initiatives.

Geer emphasized that the city now bears the responsibility to clean and sanitize crime scenes in public areas. In doing so, it can naturally extend its efforts to green trash-filled lots, seal abandoned properties, and provide sufficient lighting in areas near crime scenes. Such measures could reflect the city’s genuine compassion and concern for its residents, particularly those who have witnessed tragic and harrowing incidents on their doorsteps.

Philadelphia’s innovative approach to public safety, which combines professional crime scene cleanup with strategic blight reduction, sets a new standard for cities nationwide. By addressing the aftermath of violent crimes and improving the surrounding environments, the city aims to foster a safer, cleaner, and more compassionate community for all residents.

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