The Straight Dope

Dealers from three parts of Philly share their thoughts on the street's most dangerous trade.

By Anthony Porter
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 5 | Posted May. 2, 2007

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What role has Philadelphia's drug trafficking played in the current rash of violence?

South Philly: "I believe the drug dealers have a significant role in the violence currently going on in Philadelphia. The drug-selling world is a violent mentality, which further breeds this destructive mentality to others directly or indirectly.

"The drug traffic plays a part in all the violence going on. People not out here just to be out here; this is how we feed our family. So when it comes down to money, some people will do whatever they have to do to make the most of it."

North Philly: "Drugs definitely has had an effect on Philadelphia communities. People got corners, and they just killing each other over the money. But not only that. Times is totally different now from when I was younger."

How has increased police surveillance changed the way drugs are being sold?

South Philly: "The increase of police surveillance in drug areas has disrupted the flow of traffic, temporarily causing them to move their operation or pick up new methods of distribution."

North Philly: "You got prepaid cell phones, but you change phones every month. You got lookouts when you out there in the street, you got people selling it out of their house, and you also got drop-off spots to avoid the hand-to-hand exchange."

Is the traditional way of selling drugs on the corner over?

South Philly: "That's definitely true. They're still out on the corner, but not as much, and they use different ways of moving their product."

North Philly: "Absolutely not. Most drug dealers are arrogant and don't care."

Southwest Philly: "It's like football. If the defensive team found a way to stop one of your plays on offense, you pick a different play to run on them, hoping this one will work."

Why do so many young kids become involved?

South Philly: "The absentee parents and lack of supervision, along with lack of opportunities are the main three reasons."

North Philly: "There's no family help in the household, and so many laws that stop parents from disciplining their children, and then they grow up doing whatever they want."

Southwest Philly: "People not raising their kids right, the lack of fathers in the household, too many parents out partying and allowing their kids to run wild in the street."

Will police ever be able to control local drug areas?

South Philly: "The police can gain control of a drug area, but for how long is the real question. Police manpower can't remain in one area for a long period of time, and if they do, drug areas will only move to another location to set up their operation."

North Philly: "Not at all. As long as drugs keep finding their way into the city, drugs are going to be sold. No matter what. Drug dealers will always find better ways to maneuver around police. Each new mayor can try and stop it, but money will still be made."

Southwest Philly: "They'll never be able to gain control over it because it's bigger than just trying to shut down corners. As long as there are addicts, people will find a way to sell it to them because that's money being made."

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1. Tim said... on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:49PM

“I grew up on the drug corners of north phila. For most of my life I thought that the lifestyle and drug dealing was a normal way of life.Most kids in places like Kensington or Huntingpark grow up watching everyone they know selling drugs, going in and out of prison. They dont have anyone to show them any other way. You come to belive that the police are the enamy. Also there are no jobs within the city limites. Would you take a bus two hours into the suburbs for a job that only pays nine dollars an hour? Why would you, when you can stand on your front steps and make a few hundred a day.Thats another misconception people make. You dont make that much money out there. It is set up like a real job. You have a boss, a set schedule and if you play around too much you will repramanded. You can be suspended or fired, Iv even seen people get there pay docked. The whole thing is very structuired. I was going to break down the whole system for you, but the comment box wont let me type anymore.”

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2. Anonymous said... on Apr 15, 2010 at 06:25AM

“I luv philly, I was razed in chester but grew up in parts of philly.I live in portland oregon now its a nice place like L.A. all westcoast cities are pretty.anyway I've been all over from chicago2NY and there is no place like philly.its the people,even the whites have a ghetto in north philly and there slangin rock 2.I've never met white people like the ones in philly.I'm one of em italian/dutch so unless ur from there don't go unless u know someone”

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3. Don from jersey said... on Aug 8, 2010 at 01:08PM

“for starters I was a problem in that world call the drug world on the streets of north philly 8th cambria .when i look back at some of the things we did it kinda like erks me for me being so different from the averge man who earns his money by going to work every day .this my chance to say Im sorry for keeping a trend going in a neg.way”

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4. Anonymous said... on Feb 16, 2011 at 04:22AM

“The dude from SW speaks some truth. "As long as there are addicts..." There will always be addicts, and it takes several generations to really see a big difference in numbers. Drug tests for welfare/SS recipients. Stricter rules for school attendance would keep more kids in school and not on the streets. More encouragement and scholarships for post high school education and training would be important. More jobs...All these things would help to reduce the problem, but it would take a long time for it to really make a difference.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Jun 25, 2012 at 07:40PM

“IF THE GOVERNER, THE MAYOR OR THE POLICE CHIEF WANTS TO PUT A STOP DO DRUG SELLING IN PHILLY THEY WILL. NOT INTIRELY BUT, A LOT WOULD BE STOPPED AND ASSES WOULD BE IN JAIL. LET ME ASK YOU THIS. HOW COME I CAN STAND ON THE CORNER IN NORTH PHILLY AND SALE CRACK AND BE LEFT ALONE MOST OF THE TIME BY COPS AND EVEN THE PPL. IN THE COMMUNITY; BUT, I CANT GO TO SOCIETY HILL OR CITY LINE AVENUE AND SET UP SHOP AND SALE CRACK. ITS ALL BULL SHIT THEY CAN PUT A BIG DENT INTO THAT DRUG MESS IF THEY WANTED TO. THEY WONT SPEND THE MONEY FOR ALL THOSE BLACKS AND WHITES WHO WANT TO WASTE THERE LIVES DOING DRUGS. "DENZELL WASHINGTON SAID IN THE MOVIE TRAINING DAY, WERE THE POLICE, WE CAN DO WHAT THE FUCK WE WANNA DO, NOW STAND OVER THERE NEW GUY AND DONT GET ME KILLED!"”

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