Target: Charles Ramsey, Commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department
Goal: Demand that police extradite violent felons across state lines when their whereabouts are known
The crime rate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is among the highest in the United States. In 2013 alone, 246 people were murdered in what’s known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” Many violent offenders are able to escape justice simply by crossing state lines. According to a USA TODAY investigation, Philadelphia police refuse to extradite 93% of felons hiding out in other states, even when their whereabouts are known.
In some cases, a criminal may be just a few subway stops away. Kevin Mena-Carmona attacked someone with a knife during a robbery, and was never extradited back to Philadelphia despite being jailed four times in nearby Camden, New Jersey. John Ross sexually assaulted a bed-ridden stroke victim, and also fled to Camden. He was never brought back to Philadelphia despite later being held in Camden police custody for an unrelated crime, according to USA TODAY.
Captain John Fetzer, who heads a fugitive-tracking unit in Camden, told the paper that this gives many felons the impression that they are “pretty much scot-free here as long as they stay here in New Jersey.” This is a completely unacceptable situation. Demand that Philadelphia police focus their resources on bringing violent criminals to justice whenever their whereabouts are known.
Dear Commissioner Ramsey,
Philadelphia has seen a steady decline in violent crimes in recent years. Unfortunately, some dangerous criminals continue to escape justice because of your city’s refusal to extradite them from other states. Philadelphia is not alone in its reluctance to extradite but it does have one of the worst track records, pursuing only 7% of wanted felons beyond Pennsylvania. Although the process can be cumbersome, and at-times expensive, this is no excuse for allowing violent felons to remain at large.
Philadelphia is somewhat unique in that its metropolitan area stretches across four states. Often criminals are just across the border, and end up in police custody elsewhere when they commit future crimes. But when local authorities notify your department and the felons are still allowed to walk free, what message does that send to them and their victims?
I understand that your department must consider many factors when deciding whether or not to extradite wanted felons. Focusing limited resources on extraditing dangerous felons must be a priority. I urge you to bring justice to crime victims, and to bring violent criminals back to Pennsylvania to serve out their sentences whenever their whereabouts are known.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Marduk via Wikimedia