Violence Prevention Working Group Unveils
“The Philadelphia Roadmap to Safer Communities”
Mayor Accepts Recommendations, Vows Support and Funding
PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today accepted the recommendations of “The Philadelphia Roadmap to Safer Communities,” a comprehensive action plan to address the increasing gun violence in neighborhoods across the city.
“When I issued a call to action on preventing gun violence last September, I asked for a new approach, markedly different than initiatives that primarily rely on policing,” said Mayor Kenney. “I asked for a plan that looks at violence through the lens of public health, one that relies on data and science to identify the most effective strategies to address these issues. This report is the result of that effort. I’m confident the strategies recommended in this report will bring Philadelphia a day when violence — particularly from guns — is no longer a constant threat to our residents.”
Following the Mayor’s call to action on September 27, 2018, a Violence Prevention and Reduction Strategy Working Group comprised of multiple city agencies was formed to analyze, define, and address the issue of community gun violence. Led by Vanessa Garrett Harley, Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice and Public Safety, the team conducted focus groups, stakeholder meetings, and community listening sessions to ensure that the plan reflected the needs and hopes of the neighborhoods and individuals affected most by community gun violence, particularly young men of color between the ages of 16 to 34.
“Taking a public health approach to gun violence allows us to develop strategies to address the underlying factors that contribute to the violence in our communities, not the least of which is the pervasive poverty in Philadelphia,” said Garrett Harley. “We cannot police our way out of this problem, nor is there any magic solution or one program alone that can solve this issue. But, with the right strategy and tools, one that incorporates and aligns intelligence-based and community-oriented policing with targeted social services and community empowerment, we believe that we can prevent and reduce gun violence in our communities.”
The key recommendations to the Mayor are informed by the public health approach, as well as a violence reduction framework focusing on prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry. At the broadest level, the action plan recommends that the Administration:
- Promote community health and well-being by prioritizing the reduction of structural violence through unpacking and addressing the physical and programmatic inequities that exist in the communities at the highest risk of violence.
- Invest in additional analytical capacity and technology to implement Philadelphia Police Department’s Violent Crime Reduction Strategy “Operation Pinpoint,” which is a combination of intelligence-based and community-oriented policing.
- Build on the administration’s successful criminal justice reforms by improving reentry programs and services in Philadelphia and establish the Office of Reentry Partnerships in the Managing Director’s Office, in order to support successful reintegration of justice-involved and formerly incarcerated individuals to thrive in their communities.
Each of the action plan’s specific recommendations includes short- and long-term action items. Examples of specific recommendations:
- Create an Injury Prevention Unit focused on gun violence prevention within Department of Public Health.
- Create an infrastructure for synchronized “hot spot” activities that combines intelligence-based policing, supportive social services, and improvements to the surrounding environment.
- Implement the Neighborhood Resource Centers to provide place-based supports to those on supervision or reintegrating from incarceration, as well as their families.
- Establish neighborhood networks including police, social service agencies, community-based organizations, and faith leaders.
- Execute enhanced L&I enforcement for vacant lots, property violations, and side yards in high risk neighborhoods
“The Philadelphia Roadmap to Safer Communities” includes a new initiative of the Philadelphia Police Department, “Operation Pinpoint,” which is a combination of intelligence-based and community-oriented policing. Investment in Operation Pinpoint will allow for 24/7 real time data to be available for the officers in neighborhoods, equipping them with the intelligence necessary for modern day community policing. These investments will also improve PPD’s capacity to “pinpoint” specific communities that are most vulnerable to violence, and better assist City agencies with directing needed supports and resources to the people and places most at risk of gun violence.
“There is no single panacea for the prevalence of gun violence on our streets,” said Commissioner Richard Ross. “So, I appreciate the comprehensive and collaborative approach of the Mayor’s action plan, because we need to tackle this issue on many different fronts. I’m confident that Operation Pinpoint will have an appreciable impact on gun violence in Philadelphia, and serve as a key component of the larger violence reduction plan contained in this Roadmap.
The recommendations of the report will help inform the decision making by the Mayor and City Council in their deliberations on the upcoming Fiscal Year 2020 budget and Five Year Plan.
The action plan is available at https://www.phila.gov/documents/the-philadelphia-roadmap-to-safer-communities/.