Mayor Parker’s Kensington Crackdown Intensifies in Philadelphia

Still, no sign of National Guard troops. Yet.

Philadelphia police officers arrest someone during a May crackdown in Kensington.

Philadelphia police officers arrest someone during a Kensington enforcement effort in May. (Getty Images)

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Mayor Parker’s Kensington Crackdown Intensifies in Philadelphia

For years, Kensington was ignored and allowed to become what’s been called the “East Coast’s largest open-air drug market.” But Cherelle Parker made it absolutely, positively clear when she was campaigning that Kensington was among her top priorities. And now that Parker is the mayor of Philadelphia, no one can say that she’s not making good on that campaign promise.

Just over a week after taking office in January, Parker appointed longtime Philadelphia cop Pedro “Pete” Rosario as the first-ever Kensington drug czar. His title is technically deputy police commissioner — he’s the first Hispanic person to hold that position in Philadelphia — but his sole focus is Kensington.

Law enforcement began stepping up its presence in Kensington a tad in February. Then, in April, Parker signed a new law requiring all businesses without liquor licenses in a particular section of Kensington to remain closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. May brought with it a major enforcement effort to clear one notorious block of Kensington Avenue of its homeless encampment, an effort that had no shortage of critics.

Well, now it’s June, and Parker and the police show no signs of slowing down. Next week, 75 new Philadelphia Police Officers will graduate from the police academy. And their assignment? Kensington. The officers will work a foot patrol and strictly enforce the curfew. And, according to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel, we should expect arrests.

“I will make no excuses for the fact that we will be going down there in a much more forward posture,” Bethel said in a statement. “And we will be making arrests.”

As for Parker’s campaign suggestion that she would break out the National Guard to help solve the Kensington problem, there’s no sign of those troops. Yet.

By the Numbers

$1 million: Value of the retirement account that a dead Pennsylvania man’s ex-girlfriend may very well inherit more than three decades after they broke up — depending on how this federal court battle plays out.

$0: Amount I would bet that the United States soccer team will play a World Cup match in Philadelphia on July 4, 2026. When we first learned that Philadelphia was a World Cup host city and that there would be a match in Philadelphia on that date, we all realized how wild it would be for our team to play on the birthplace of the nation on the nation’s 250th birthday. Alas, we now have more details that make it look like the chances of that happening are very, very, very slim.

$1: Cost of some movies at Regal cinemas thanks to the chain’s new summer dollar-movie promotion. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of the movies in question, the free AC is worth it in and of itself, especially given the weather that’s staring us down. If you’re wondering if there is a Regal near you, we have locations in Conshohocken, Plymouth Meeting, Downingtown, Newtown Square, Edgmont, and Warrington.

Local Talent

One of the daughters of Philly filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan just released a film of her own. Ishana Night Shyamalan, who grew up on the Main Line and now calls New York home (we’ll forgive her for that), directed the new horror movie The Watchers. You can watch the trailer here. There’s also this New York Times review of the movie, which makes it sound neither awful nor some Sixth Sense level of cinematic greatness.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar to you, it could be that you’re thinking of Saleka Shyamalan, M. Night’s talented Center City-dwelling daughter whom I interviewed last year about her music career. Saleka appears in and wrote some music for The Trap, her dad’s latest. That film comes out on August 9th. Fingers crossed that it’s more Sixth Sense or, say, Split and less The Last Airbender.