Philadelphia’s City Controller urges Mayor Kenney to implement new gun violence prevention programs
The office estimates implementing the programs could reduce homicides by 10% annually, saving at least 318 lives in 5 years.
Less than a week after the shooting death of a 2-year-old toddler, Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart announced the city’s homicide rate has surpassed Chicago’s, with 280 people murdered by gun violence, so far this year.
“As other cities have seen their murder rates decline, Philadelphia has continued to rise with a homicide rate increasing by 41% from 2013 to 2018,” announced Rhynhart.
The statement comes as the City Controller released a report on “Economic Impact of Gun Violence,” that focuses on the effect murders have on property values in every neighborhood in the city.
“The human impact is devastating, there's no way to measure it. And that's why we focused on the economic impact [to be able to measure it],” explained the City Controller.
The study corroborated the relationship between crime and lower property values. But it also showed that some high demand neighborhoods also experience high levels of crime “due to persistent challenges that negatively impact health, economic and educational outcomes for residents.”
That’s why the City Controller is calling on Mayor Kenney to implement a 3 prompt strategy and to work with the district attorney.
“[reducing murders] is possible if we lean in and do what other cities have done,” said Rhynhart during a press conference.
The cities Rhynhart refers to are Oakland and New Orleans, which set up similar programs in 2012.
Oakland Operation Ceasefire aimed to reduce gang and group related shootings and homicides, decrease recidivism and incarceration rates, and strengthen the relationship between the police and the community.
In the last five years, the program has been credited with declining gun homicides by 32%, and reducing homicides rate by 50%.
New Orleans experienced a similar effect under the NOLA for Life program. Using a 5 point strategy: Stop the Shooting, Invest in Prevention, Promote Jobs and Opportunity, Strengthen the NOPD, and Get Involved and Rebuild Neighborhoods.
According to Philadelphia’s City Controller, NOLA for Life reduced 17% of homicides and decreased New Orleans’ murder rate by 27% in two years.
$43 million in 5 years
Based on the research, the City Controller’s three-part plan will cost the city $11 million in the first year it is implemented, with the expectation of reducing homicide rates by 10%, slowly increasing property values.
By the second year, the office will need for the city to invest another $9 million. But it also expects a tax revenue of $13 million from property values.
According to Rhynhart, not only would that pay for the original investment but, from that point on, it would allow the program to self sustain.
In theory, this would allow Philadelphia to prevent the deaths of 318 people in 5 years while generating a revenue of $71 million for the city - after investment - over the same period.
As of now, the program is just based on estimates and will need to be reviewed by Philadelphia’s Mayor and City Council.