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Philly Businesses Set Booby Traps to Deal With Drug Addicts

Small businesses in Philadelphia are developing unusual methods to deal with an open-air drug market and keep addicts away from their storefronts.

The situation is most dire in the Kensington neighborhood on the city’s east side. Time reported in May the neighborhood is home to the largest street drug market on the East Coast. Kensington has been called ground zero for the rise of Xylazine – also known as “tranq” – a drug approved for use by veterinarians but that is a potentially lethal sedative used by addicts to enhance the effects of heroin and cocaine.

“Businesses end up throwing soapy water on the ground just so it is wet, and it is not a comfortable place to sit down,” local activist Frank Rodriguez, who used to deal and use drugs in the Kensington area before getting sober, told Fox News on Wednesday. “There are businesses that set up sprinkler systems; they have to set up these crazy little hacks and booby traps just to keep people off their stoops.

“The businesses don’t last long. When they are put in the community, the community tends to tear them down. It’s not a place for anything to thrive.”

According to data from the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Kensington area has one of the city’s highest rates of violent crime and drug crime in the past 30 days.

KWY-TV in Philadelphia reported Aug. 9 the office of Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney said the city is actively reaching out to individuals living in encampments on the streets to encourage them to accept services or temporary housing.

But Mariangeli Saez, co-owner of award-winning Mexican restaurant Cantina La Martina, must deal with an encampment across the street from the business she runs with her husband. The city told KWY-TV it would remove that encampment by Wednesday, but Saez said that won’t be a permanent solution.

“Moving the encampment from this block to the next block is not sustainable,” Saez said. “It’ll take the problem away for me, but it’ll take the problem to the next business owner and the next neighbors.”

Saez said nightly covers are down at least 60% at the restaurant, and food supply vendors have refused to make deliveries because of safety concerns.

“That has been scary for the vendors, but it also affects our clients,” Saez said.

Rodriguez said he returns to the Kensington area nearly every week to provide necessities and life advice to drug users. But he said the neighborhood has continued to deteriorate.

“It’s 100% getting worse,” he said. “And it’s going to get worse tomorrow, and the next day is going to be even worse.”

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a general assignment reporter for Newsmax with more than 30 years of journalism experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and poltics.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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