"University City"

UCD reports spike in robberies, burglaries

Posted on 12 November 2014 by

A recent crime update distributed by the University City District is a reason for concern. After several calm months, UCD is reporting a “substantial spike” in robberies and residential burglaries in the area last month. Overall, 47 serious crimes were committed in the UCD service area in October, according to the report (see map below). Arrests related to 10 of these crimes were made.

There were 11 armed and 12 unarmed robberies and 23 residential burglaries in October. Most of the burglaries took place in Spruce Hill (between Spruce St and Baltimore Ave). Arrests were made in relation to four of these burglaries. It’s worth mentioning that the previous worst month in terms of residential burglaries this year was March when over 30 burglary incidents were reported.

In addition to serious crimes, UCD also reports a large number of thefts from vehicles last month, which may be tied to several large events being held in the area.

Since days are getting shorter and most of robberies happen at night, please stay alert when walking or running after dark.


Serious Crimes in October, 2014 (courtesy of UCD).

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Cranes explained: UCD releases new ‘State of University City’ report

Posted on 16 October 2014 by Mike Lyons

StateofUCThese days it seems like you can’t walk more than a block or two near Penn and Drexel’s campuses without seeing some sort of major construction project. Cranes are becoming about as common around here as coffee shops.

Some 32 building projects have been or will be completed in the area around the universities between last fall and next summer or so, according to the 2014/2015 State of University City report, which was released by the University City District (UCD) yesterday afternoon during a reception at World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St.). These include about 1.3 million square feet of new building space dedicated to medical and biomedical research, a key field driving development of this part of the city.

The majority of all new office construction in the city is happening in the patch between 38th street to the west, Market street to the north and the Schuylkill River to the east and south.

All of this building and investment has created what doctor-turned-entrepreneur Keith Leaphart, a lifelong Philadelphia resident, called an “ecosystem for ambition” during yesterday’s reception. Leaphart owns the design and print firm Replica Creative, which opened a café amid all the hubbub last year at 3711 Market St.

Residential space is increasing as well. Two new residential high rises, at 36th and Market and 3737 Chestnut, are slated to open next summer and fall respectively. The UCD is forecasting that the number of new apartments will increase 60 percent by 2016. Many of these are aimed at graduate students and millennials, the fastest growing demographic category in the district.  Continue Reading

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Armed men break into, rob fraternity house near 42nd and Baltimore

Posted on 28 August 2014 by


Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity house. (Photo West Philly Local)

Police are searching for two armed men who forced their way into and robbed a fraternity house at 42nd and Pine near 42nd and Baltimore Wednesday morning at around 2 a.m.

The fraternity members in the house, the University of Sciences students, were hosting a birthday party at the time, NBC10 reports. Students at Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity house answered a knock on the door. The gunmen ordered the students to the ground, took cash – much of the fraternity’s newly collected dues from a safe in the house – and fled, according to police. One of the students was also attacked during the invasion as he told NBC10.

Penn and the University of Sciences planned to issue safety alerts to their students today.

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Love Vape e-cigarette shop opens on 4700 block of Baltimore Ave

Posted on 25 August 2014 by Mike Lyons


Nelson Ngo, foreground, and Chy Kan man the counter at the newly opened Love Vape University City. (Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local)

A fully stocked vape shop has come to Baltimore Avenue.

Love Vape University City opened earlier this month at 4714 Baltimore Ave., the former home of the Talking Headz salon.

“It was a good spot,” said Stephanie Ngo, one of three employees on hand when we visited on Saturday. “There’s a little bit of night life here.”

“Vaping” is the slang term for the “smoking” of e-cigarettes, which turn special flavored liquids (sometimes with a bit of nicotine) into vapors through the use of a battery powered device.

The new shop, which is one of four Love Vape locations around the city, is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Earth tones, not Disney: New pre-school opens amid expansion at 38th and Chestnut

Posted on 06 August 2014 by Mike Lyons


A new early learning center has opened within a few blocks of the area’s largest employers as part of the development of the area around the Philadelphia Cathedral at 38th and Chestnut.

The Philadelphia Cathedral Early Learning Center offers about 100 spots for children ranging from infants to pre-school aged kids in the remodeled basement of the cathedral, which, with exposed ductwork and beams in the ceiling and a lot of hardwood floors, feels more like an artist’s loft than a pre-school.

“We really want the center to feel like home,” said enrollment specialist Elaine Errico. “You see beautiful wood floors and real furniture.”

Think earth tones, not Disney.

The Philadelphia Cathedral is leasing the basement to Hildebrandt Learning Centers, a management company that runs a few dozen centers around the region, including several on college campuses. The expansion is part of the plan that includes a new 25-story apartment building and three-story commercial building next door.

The construction, which is scheduled to be completed next spring, means that the learning center entrance is a little tricky to find for those interested in a tour (construction of the center itself is done and when we were there they were training the first group of teachers). The entrance is currently on Ludlow, a half-block north of Chestnut. They are offering tours between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Here are some more details on the center:

• Open from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• Full- and part-time is available.
• The center participates in the state-subsidized tuition program.
• Number of spots: infants (6 weeks to 12 months) – 8; young toddlers – (13-24 months) – 10; toddler (25-35 months) – 24; preschool (3-5 years) – 60.

To schedule a tour call 267-428-6714.


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Lil’ Pop Shop burglarized recently, but crime stats overall down in University City neighborhoods

Posted on 01 August 2014 by


Click to enlarge.

Despite a few high-profile crimes in recent days in the Spruce Hill neighborhood, including the burglary of Lil’ Pop Shop near 44th and Spruce on Monday and robberies at 45th and 46th and Larchwood, this summer has been fairly quiet in the University City area, according to crime stats released by the University City District earlier this week.

The stats cover an area from 50th Street east to the Schuylkill and Spring Garden (in Powelton) and Market (in Walnut Hill) south to Woodland Avenue (see map). They show a decrease in residential burglaries and robberies in the area compared to last summer and a significant drop since a rash of burglaries and robberies in February and March.

Lil’ Pop Shop owner Jeanne Chang says someone smashed the glass front door at the shop overnight on July 28 and stole cash, a crime similar to many reported in December and January. Police caught that guy though. A police source said that a man was arrested for a series of burglaries, including several burglaries at local businesses, may have committed as many as 20 in the area.

University City, like much of city, has seen a fairly steady drop in crime in recent years. The drop is likely steep here because of the increased activity of a number of public safety organizations, including the Philadelphia Police Department, Penn Police, the UCD Ambassadors and several neighborhood watch groups.


Crime statistics from the University City District for the last 12 months.


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