Philadelphia City Council wants more surveillance for safety at city schools
Following a shooting near a school in North Philadelphia, City Council called last week for more video surveillance cameras to protect children and school personnel.
On Feb. 19, gunfire broke out on 11th and Thompson Streets near Saint Malachy’s elementary school. No children were harmed in the attack, but four adults were shot, including a 19-year-old woman, who was fatally wounded.
This “increased incidence of gun violence near schools” prompted Philadelphia City Council to introduce a resolution to hold hearings on the need for adding and increasing video surveillance cameras near Philadelphia schools.
The initiative called “School Safe Corridors” will attempt to add at least 85 additional cameras in 24 schools in the six police divisions (Northwest, Northeast, East, Central, Southwest, South) across the city, based on research conducted by the Philadelphia Police Department.
“We have to do more to protect students coming to and from school, teachers and others who work in the schools, and residents who live in neighborhoods plagued by all of the gun violence,” said Council President Darrell Clarke, who is one of the resolution’s sponsors.
According to the Philadelphia Police Department, last year, 14 children under 18 were fatally shot and from February 2019 to Feb. 19, 2020, there has been a 21% increase in homicides.
Resolution co-sponsors Councilmember Maria Quiñones Sánchez, chair of the Committee on Education, and Councilmember Curtis Jones, Jr., chair of the Committee on Public Safety will preside over the hearings.
In a statement Councilmember Jones, Jr, emphasized children and caregivers’ need for safety as “they need to know Philadelphia police are monitoring those corridors to keep them safe.”
According to the resolution, the Philadelphia Police research has pointed out four, unnamed schools within reach of the city’s six police divisions “that have the greatest incidence of violent crimes within a 1000-foot safe corridor zone” surrounding the schools.
The camera locations will be based on the most likely route for students to go to and from school, areas of the congregation, blocks with a higher incidence of crimes, and the locations of existing cameras.