Mayor Jim Kenney, police officials recap and preview gun violence initiatives and prevention efforts for 2023
Held in the Mayor’s reception room, Philly officials went over prevention efforts, and other initiatives to decrease gun violence.
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On Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 20, Mayor Jim Kenney, and other local officials held a recap of public safety initiatives from 2022 as the year comes to a close, in addition to introducing new gun violence prevention efforts for the new year.
“Five more people's lives have been cut short by senseless violence in our city. That's 500 of our friends, neighbors, colleagues. It is unconscionable that so many lives are lost to the scourge of violence, nearly 90% of which are in the hands of someone with a gun. I never stopped thinking about the victims and the families and the incredible way that their loss leaves behind,” Kenney said.
Alongside Kenney was Managing Director Tumar Alexander, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, and Erica Atwood, Senior Director, Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety.
Homicides for 2023 hit 500 on Dec. 19 and while it will not likely beat 2021’s record, it was still not a great year.
Some of the new initiatives discussed include a redeployment of Philly’s uniformed officers that will target the four police districts currently experiencing the highest rates of gun violence.
“Starting in January, the police department will redeploy at least 100 additional officers in neighborhoods currently experiencing the highest rates of gun crime in the city. The new initiative is coupled with a recently completed realignment of the department's operation pinpoint, which is based on data identifying violent hotspots across Philadelphia. Together these metrics will boost police presence and target high risk offenders and potential victims in the four police districts that cumulatively account for 43% of gun violence,” Mayor Kenney said.
They also touched on the currently existing Community Crisis Intervention Program, that combats violence by intervening where it is most prevalent. The program provides those involved in criminal activities with positive alternatives to influence others to put down the gun, and not resort to violence.
The officials also looked at Operation Pinpoint, the Police Department’s strategy that takes a “surgical” approach to gun violence instead focusing on people and places, and certain neighborhood conditions that cause gun violence.
“Perhaps more encouraging, though, is that 11 police districts saw a decrease in the homicides and 10 districts saw a decrease in shootings victims. Moreso six of these districts that saw double digit decreases in homicides in some of our most challenged neighborhoods. The 19th District experienced a 12% decrease. The 22nd District experienced a 30% decrease, the 24th District experienced 24% decrease, the 35th District 39% decrease, and the 39th District experienced a 28% decrease,” Outlaw said.
There are three key areas they look to improve on which include visibility, enforcement, and inclusion. For visibility, they want to enhance police presence in areas where crime is highest, increase park and walk assignments, and bike patrols, as well as identify streets, businesses and locations that could benefit from having higher police presence than they do now.
For enforcement, they look to increase collaboration with local, state and federal law enforcement to further hold criminals responsible and conduct detailed initiatives andinvestigations for local and federal prosecution.
For inclusion, this means increasing inclusion as opposed to engagement, and community outreach through the Community Relations Bureau, as well as collaborate with city services to provide a better response and target immediate needs for quick action in regards to the issue.
“We also recognize this fact about gun violence prevention and intervention, our work has not been enough,” said Kenney. “Solutions to this deeply complex issue are not simple, but we will do everything we can to protect Philadelphians and make our community safer.”