For William Pandola, it was.
“It got to the point where you didn’t feel safe going out just to get your daily needs. Just getting a pack of smokes was risky” the 28-year-old says.
Born in South Philadelphia and raised for a good chunk of his life in Southwest, Pandola says that although the neighborhood changed, it was a good community to live in.
“It was really tight-knit and people really were possessive about their community. The friends you made here are the friends you have for life.”
Even though most people on his block were close, Pandola says that doesn’t mean there weren’t criminals living close by as well.
“A 15-year-old kid shot him [Pandola’s friend] right in the head for three $5 bags of pot. He lived on our block, which was ridiculous.”
His friend survived, but it made Pandola realize that his tight-knit community was changing.
“It’s like it changed overnight. Cops started acting erratic to the neighborhood kids I grew up with. In the 90’s it was beautiful, there was always block parties.”
Pandola now resides in Delaware County with his wife, which is only about a ten minute drive from Cobbs Creek Parkway.
“It’s a world of difference though. My wife goes walking at a track across the street when the weather’s nice, by herself. I’d never let her do that in my old neighborhood.”
By Noelle Kearns and Bennett Snyder, Group 4, Southwest Philadelphia