A Visit To The Badlands

Shown are blighted and abandoned row homes in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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North Philadelphia | Rise News

“I never once took for granted the community that I grew up in and the people that helped guide me from the stages of adolescence to adulthood. At a very early age, I understood the dynamic lifestyles of those who have and those who have not. The upper-class families live a life of splendor and affluence, and the middle-class family that just get by and find happiness amongst the humblest of things such as a hardy home-cooked meal or a smokey grill on a warm summer night. And then there was the lower class… the impoverished community that seemed to be the world that often was the backdrop from which my favorite rappers sang about their trauma and battles to overcome and perceive. The world in which the drug dealers made a fortune and the victims were stuck in a cycle of despair and hopelessness. The hood, the trenches, the block, the ghetto, the list of popular adjectives is long. “

The Philadelphia Badlands is a section of North Philadelphia and Lower Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, that is known for an abundance of open-air recreational drug markets and drug-related violence. The impoverished area was listed number two in a list of top ten drug corners according to an article by Philadelphia Weekly 


Like most industrial cities in the eastern United States, Philadelphia suffered economic decline following the movement of industry to either the suburbs or developing countries and has suffered as a result.

The Philadelphia Badlands contain a diverse mix of ethnicities. Puerto Ricans are the largest group, but the area also contains large populations of Black Americans, Irish Americans, and Dominican Americans. The area encompasses El Centro de Oro, the heart of Philadelphia’s Puerto Rican community. Although much of the area’s crime stems from local neighborhood-based street gangs and the drug trade, larger, more organized gangs also operate in the area, including the Black Mafia, Latin Kings, and various motorcycle gangs.

Aside from less-organized gang activity, the Badlands is also known as the founding location and current turf of the Irish-American organized crime group known as the K&A Gang (also known as the Northeast Philly Irish Mob). Circa 2012, Irish Americans constitute more than 12% of the population of the Badlands.


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