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PHILADELPHIA – Near the corner of 25th and Thompson Sts., Keith Brown is sitting in a plastic green chair on the sidewalk outside his doorstep, texting on his cell phone and enjoying a beautiful day.
The sounds of summer can be heard everywhere, from the music coming from an ice cream truck that slowly passes by to the chatter from a dozen grade-schoolers who are chaperoned by a couple of adults on an adjacent sidewalk.
On this day, this North Philadelphia neighborhood, known to be one of the roughest in the city, is calm and peaceful, as one of Brown’s neighbors says, for a reason.
“Ain’t nobody out here today,” says a woman who has lived on Thompson St. for almost 40 years but declines to give her name. “People are scared to come out. They don’t want to come out until things are cleared up.”