Dozens of residents of South Street and its surrounding neighborhoods gathered this morning with police leaders to talk about the huge swarms of teenagers that descended on the area last weekend, vandalizing property and creating havoc.
Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel said police would have a large presence throughout the area this weekend, enforcing curfew violations for juveniles and monitoring public transportation for mobs of teenagers who might return.
Police believe the teens - reports have varied, but thousands may have taken part - communicated through online social networking sites to gather in one place.
Large groups of troublesome teens have hit University City and Upper Darby in the past, but nothing on the scale that was seen last Saturday on South Street, a popular gathering spot that has long had trouble with nuisance crimes, loud music and inebriated visitors.
In the worst of the trouble last weekend, a cab driver was carjacked, and a woman and her passenger pulled from their vehicle and assaulted.
"We recognize the dynamics of South Street have changed and could change again," Bethel said. "Regardless of how this unfolds, we realize we need to take a hard look at South Street . . . and have a real concrete plan on how we'll move forward."
Residents seemed generally pleased with the police plan to keep the area clear of mischief without "occupying" one of the city's main destination corridors and harming businesses.
"This is something that's a blip," said Steve Schatz, who has lived along South Street for about 20 years. "The street will return to normal and it will be a friendly place."