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Photo: ELIZABETH ROBERTSON
Photo: ELIZABETH ROBERTSON

Gun Violence in Philadelphia: City Council convenes amid more spikes

Rising shootings in Philadelphia call for immediate action, following a 55% increase from last year.

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On Tuesday, Aug. 11, Philadelphia City Council held its first of two emergency meetings  on gun violence after another weekend of active shootings throughout the city. 

Members of the Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention, spoke about the sense of urgency, their performance goals, and making specific measures on have  the desired effect on gun violence. 

On Monday night, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson organized a “Peace Not Guns” rally at City Hall.

At the meeting, Commissioner Outlaw said:“COVID-19 heavily affected the narcotics department,” explaining one reason why there has been a spike in shootings 

According to 6ABC, there were more than a dozen shootings in the city over the most recent weekend, leaving two people dead and many others wounded. This included two children and a pregnant woman.

“The City of Philadelphia is in a state of emergency right now. We are going to have a marathon of emergency hearings around this issue we want to know what's the plan with the Philadelphia police commissioner, what's the plan with our DA? There are some initiatives that have been rolled out, so we will get an update on where we are... but most importantly if it's working, the status of it, and if there are any gaps we need to fill in," Johnson said at the rally.

“We’re not only in a health crisis, in an economic crisis, we are in a gun violence crisis. Our streets are filled with blood. More than five people a day are shot in Philadelphia.” Johnson said at the meeting.

This year to date, there have been 1139 shooting victims in Philadelphia, up 36% compared to last year.

What's been seen more commonly more than previous years has been kids getting caught in the middle of a gun battle.

Planned strategies are gun violence interventions, which would center around age and individuals who are in risk of getting involved with guns. They will offer a variety of social services to decrease the need to engage in acts of violence and simultaneously prosecuting those who continue to use guns. 

The other is called ‘Operation Pinpoint,’ which is a strategy to identify, collect, analyze and disseminate information that officers and commanders need to target the worst violent offenders and areas. 

The second meeting is scheduled for later this week.

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