Mandarin, Cantonese and other Asian languages were included for the first time in a seminars about buying properties through the Philadelphia's Sheriff's Office.

Original article by Sam Newhouse can be found here:

One of the main responsibilities of the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office is running sales for the city's court system, at which tax-delinquent or foreclosed-upon properties are sold off to the highest bidder.

In a bid to make more inclusive a program that he said offers "the American dream" to the diverse non-English speaking communities of the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, Sheriff Jewell Williams organized the office's first Sheriff's Sale seminar with Asian language interpreters on Saturday, Dec. 8.

About 300 people from all walks of life attended this Sheriff's Sale seminar, organized by the office's Real Estate Division, which included interpreters for several Asian languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Filipino, Laotian and Korean. About three-quarters of attendees were Asian-Americans, while the remainder were other ethnicities taking advantage of a rare weekend seminar. Overall attendance was more than double a usual weekday seminar, Sheriff Jewell Williams said.

"It went very well. It was a historic event for the Asian community," Williams told Metro after the seminar. "The Asian community is sometimes not heard. For this seminar, Asians, African Americans, whites and Latinos came together, and they all had the same concerns, they were communicating with each other, exchanging ideas and questions."

How much will a property cost? The lowest bid depends on the type of sale, based on standards set by the Revenue Department. The highest bidder wins the property and must be prepared to make a deposit of at least $600 or 10 percent the winning bid.The Sheriff's Sale program sells off properties that have been forfeited by their past owners to the public due to unpaid mortgages or property taxes. These properties are auctioned off to recoup the city for lost revenues. Approximately 12,000 properties over 60 auctions per year.

One major change to the program since Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams took office in 2012 has been the beefing up of the office's Defendant Asset Recovery Team (DART), to return excess funds from these sales, beyond the debt on the property, to the former owner.

Sheriff's Sales are only intended to recoup overdue funds, and not intended to net a profit for the city or office. Since 2012, Williams said his office returned $16,969,816 to the original property-owners through the DART program.

Seminars on how to navigate the process are held the second Tuesday and second Friday every month at the Sheriff's Office. The office is also exploring holding more Saturday seminars, " as not everyone can attend during the week and we want the process of buying property at a Sheriff sale to be open to as many people as possible," Williams said.

This first-ever seminar with Asian interpreters, "How to Buy Property at a Sheriff Sale: A Seminar for the Asian Business Community," was held Saturday, Dec. 8, at 10-11:30 a.m., at 3801 Market St. Williams said his office is looking into holding more seminars in foreign languages and on weekend dates.

Link to the original article can be found here:

Trying to clean up the streets before Halloween, the Philly Sheriff's office arrests 12 drivers wanted on outstanding DUI warrants.

While some think of holidays like the night before Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day, where people get together and drinking is common, as the worst nights for DUI, another dangerous night is Halloween. 

That's because it's the night when children and young people go out trick-or treating, explained Philly Sheriff Jewell Williams, and the most common night when pedestrians are injured by drunk drivers.

"We're looking at a specific issues that plague our children, and we're looking at Halloween," Williams said. "If the kids don't get hit, then an adult gets hit because the adults trying to protect the kids."

To make the streets a little safer on All Hallow's Eve, the Sheriff's office conducted an overnight raid from 2 to 8 a.m. on Oct. 31 – arresting twelve individuals who had outstanding warrants for driving under the influence.

 That's twelve that would be out in the street," Williams said. "That vehicle he is driving becomes a weapon – 3,000 pounds, at 60 miles per hour. So we're saving lives."

"If a person has an outstanding DUI warrant and doesn't show up for court, then they're at risk, because they're not dealing with their alcoholism," Williams said. "If you go to court, the courts offer you some kind of program to help you through your alcoholism or opiate problems. ... When you don't show up in court, then you will never know about the programs, that will save you and save the public."

Nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 44 percent of fatal car crashes on Halloween from 2012 to 2016 involved a drunk driver, and 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities involved impaired drivers.

In Pennsylvania alone, 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween from 2012 to 2016 involved an intoxicated driver.

Approximately 10,000 people die every year in the U.S. in drunk-driving crashes, roughly 29 people a day.

 The Sheriff's Office of Philadelphia is looking for Deputy Sheriff Officers! Complete a Job Interest card online for your chance to make a difference in Philadelphia! No experience required!

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Original article by Michael D'Onforio can be found here


Gun violence has scarred John Solomon.


One scar runs nearly 6 inches up Solomon’s left tricep toward his shoulder, the result of surgery after a bullet struck him on its way into his chest when he was 15.


“But the true reminder is inside of me,” Solomon said as he stood at the intersection of West Huntington and North Chadwick streets in North Philadelphia on Monday. “It’s not a physical thing,” the 26-year-old added. “It’s the trauma that I went through. It’s the trauma: That’s the biggest reminder.”


With shootings on the rise in the city, Solomon joined a coalition of Black men and community groups — along with Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams — who called for a cease-fire and halt to the shootings. “We are in a crisis, particularly the African-American community,” said Bilal Qayyum, founder and president of the Father’s Day Rally Committee.


The city has logged 234 homicides this year as of Sunday, an increase of 8 percent from the same time in 2017, according to the Philadelphia Police Department’s online database. About 84 percent of those killed have been overwhelmingly Black: 177 Black men and 20 Black women, according to a police spokesman.


Through Sunday, there also had been 1,193 shooting incidents with 961 shooting victims among them, said the police spokesman. One of the most recent shootings happened at the location of the press conference; a 32-year-old man was shot and killed there last week. A makeshift memorial — a photo, balloons, candles and stuffed animals — sat at the base of a telephone pole nearby. Resident Taaj Hall, 30, said that man was his long-time friend, Earl McCormick. Philadelphia police did not respond to a request to confirm the identity of the man who was killed.


“People are dying; people are losing their life,” Hall said. “You can’t get your life back. You can’t push replay. You can’t get it back, so we need some people to care to get together to try to stop it (gun violence).”


Williams, the sheriff, said he and groups have been working for years to reduce gun violence, “but the message is just not getting there.”


“So we’re calling on people to talk it out, and don’t shoot it out,” Williams said.


Mell Wells, president of One Day at a Time, said Black communities have to admit there is a problem. “It’s time to start raising hell about what we’re doing to one another,” he said. “About these babies who are dying in our street. … we’ve got to start ... putting down the guns and start helping out one another by watching each others’ back.”


Terry Starks, founder and executive director of the Urban Crisis Response Center, said neighborhoods need more community organizing, community engagement and youth programs. “Once the community comes out, then — like I said, aunties and uncles comes out — a lot of times guys aren’t going to do dumb stuff because their family is out,” Starks said.


Qayyum said the coalition will initiate jobs projects and programs to encourage the proliferation of Black-owned businesses before the end of the year with the goal of reducing gun violence. After wielding guns himself in his youth and spending five years in jail, Solomon co-founded Endangered Kind, a community group that he co-runs that addresses issues in the neighborhood.


Solomon said North Philadelphia neighborhood was in a “state of survival,” where residents were fearful and many carry guns because of that fear.

“When I wake up and come out here, I just know it’s danger,” he said. “There’s good things about the neighborhood, but you can’t deny the fact that it’s dangerous out here.”


Solomon said he believed there remains a disconnect between community leaders and those causing the violence. “We haven’t been effective at being proactive,” Solomon said. “We can come to a rally or press conference, it doesn’t take any work to do that,” he added. “You know: Somebody gets killed, we come out here and we speak. That’s easy; that’s the easy part.

But to actually be proactive and connect with these guys on a personal level to even begin to have a chance to stop the issue, that’s a whole other ballgame.”

This article was originally posted at

By Katherine Scott

Friday, August 24, 2018 01:32PM


A citywide raid that landed more than a dozen wanted fugitives in police custody overnight.

Law enforcement fanned out across Philadelphia, rounding up 17 people as part of Operation Night Sweep.

"Today is a good day for the City of Philadelphia," said Sheriff Jewell Williams.

Officials say some of the suspects tried to avoid capture by unscrewing lightbulbs to create darkness or attempted to hide.

Philadelphia enlisted help from law enforcement from Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties, as well as state and city police.


Sheriff Williams said his office is out serving warrants every day, but a concentrated effort like this helps chip away at the massive backlog of cases.

The charges against the alleged fugitives include robbery, gun violations, drug offenses and aggravated assault.

Some were arrested for civil matters, such as delinquent child support. This raid could potentially net more than $168,000 in outstanding child support, right in time for the school year.

"We know the school year starts on Monday in the city of Philadelphia, and we want to see these parents get some of that money that they deserve to have for child support and custody matters," said Williams.

There are many more wanted, the sheriff says. Often people turn themselves in after seeing the news of one of these sweeps to avoid the embarrassment of being caught up in the next one.

Video and original story can be found here: