A Philadelphia police narcotics operation that targeted Kensington's open-air drug markets resulted in 60 arrests and 24 vehicle seizures, officials announced at a Friday-morning news conference.

Thursday's operation, which focused on areas around Front and Somerset Streets, was designed to deter the dealers and buyers who frequent some of the city's most notorious drug corridors. Twenty dealers were arrested; the remaining 40 people were buyers, police said.

Their names and photos were forwarded to news media in the city, which police said they hoped would serve as a deterrent for those looking to purchase drugs in the city.

Inspector Melvin Singleton of the Narcotics Unit said the neighborhood targeted Thursday is "under siege" by a drug market that operates largely in the open. He said drug sales directly affect families who live in the area, including children who walk to school past deals.

"It's a constant, ongoing problem," he said.

Most of those arrested were from Philadelphia, but many were from outside the city limits, including South Jersey and Bucks and Chester Counties. Many of the Philadelphians arrested had come to Kensington from other parts of the city.

A third of the cars seized were from outside the city, police said. Drugs seized were mainly heroin but included crack and marijuana.

Singleton said about $5,000 in cash and $5,000 worth of drugs was seized.

He said those arrested for buying drugs could avail themselves of court programs that stress diversion and treatment instead of jail time.

No one was hurt in the operation and no force was used by police, Singleton said, adding that he expects to supervise more operations of this kind.

awhelan@philly.com

215-854-2691 @aubreyjwhelan