THE NUMBER of homicides in Philadelphia is higher than that of New York City, while the population of New York tops Philadelphia by more than 5-1. It's a disgrace, it's embarrassing and dangerous to live in Philadelphia.

This has to fall back on Mayor Street. Our homicide rate has been high for several years, and it's only getting higher. Putting more cops on the streets is a start but doesn't solve the problem.

I saw the mayor in Southwest Philadelphia at one of those "town meetings." One question: What is their purpose? You have all these people fed up with what's going on and rightfully so. But the people causing the homicides are not at these meetings. So how is this message getting to them? Simple answer: It's not. So what's the answer?

I think the laws should be tougher. Death penalty. Eye for an eye. You take someone's life, your life will be taken. We'll see how tough people are when death is staring them in the face. When kids arev getting killed in the crossfire, it's time to take a stand.

I saw an article about gyms around the U.S. in a fitness magazine. The author called the area near the Melrose Diner the "South Philly badlands." Is this the reputation this city wants to promote?

Anthony Bronico, Philadelphia

The bad guys

Dianne Madison wants to know who the police are most likely to use deadly force on. The answer is quite simple. Criminals!

Glenn Stankovics, Collegeville