PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney, joined by members of Philadelphia City Council, today announced a host of further efforts to assist communities most directly impacted by gun violence.
“We share City Council’s sense of urgency to curb the senseless gun violence that harms and claims so many lives in Philadelphia,” said the Mayor. “We continue to work toward implementation of the Philadelphia Roadmap to Safer Communities, the comprehensive, five-year anti-violence plan that we unveiled in January. Yet even as we do so, all of us in City government—including our colleagues in City Council—recognize the need for additional, immediate steps to be added to our plan that address that urgency. I want to thank Council President Clarke, Council members Jones and Johnson, and all other members for their leadership on this issue. I’m confident that these programs will benefit those residents most directly affected by the scourge of guns.”
“City Council stands ready to work with Mayor Kenney, the Philadelphia Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office and a wide array of stakeholders to reduce and prevent gun violence in our city,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke. “There is no single solution to gun violence. We need a multi-pronged approach and collaboration at every level of City government to address this problem. Whether it’s prohibiting guns at City recreation centers, so our children have safe havens where they can play; increasing employment opportunities for our youth who are most at-risk of gun violence; or stepping up the City’s efforts at neighborhood policing and social services through the Group Violence Intervention initiative, we need to do everything in our power to make Philadelphia safer for all our citizens.”
The Mayor focused specifically on two initiatives, the first aimed at preventing violent crime, the second aimed at remediating the effects of such violence in neighborhoods:
Group Violence Intervention:
The City is currently working with the District Attorney’s Office and other partners on a plan to formally relaunch a focused deterrence effort known as “Group Violence Intervention.” This is a crime reduction strategy zeroed in on the highest-risk individuals in hot spots, including repeat offenders and those pushing drugs. The strategy involves targeted outreach to high-rate offenders, offering incentives for compliance and swift consequences for criminal activity. The Administration is committed to funding this approach, with full implementation this upcoming Spring in West Philadelphia.
Rapid Response Outreach:
Communities that witness gun violence need immediate support, particularly in the wake of large-scale incidents such as the murder of four residents in one West Philadelphia home last month. That tragedy, in fact, marked one of the first mobilizations of the City’s new Rapid Response Team. Team members include representatives of various City agencies that provide:
- Immediate trauma support
- Direction on obtaining long-term counseling
- Immediate structural and streetscape repairs
- Long-term blight remediation and improved street lighting
- Information on other social services and anti-violence resources
To support these efforts, the Administration has transmitted to City Council legislation for a mid-year budget transfer of $3.88 million to the Managing Director’s Office. In addition to funding Group Violence Intervention and the Rapid Response Teams, the funds will enhance these existing anti-violence initiatives:
- Community Crisis Intervention Program
- Police Assisted Diversion
- Targeted Community Investment Grants
- Workforce Development
- Support for the evaluation of the effectiveness of these programs
Separately, the transfer ordinance also proposes an additional $1.2 million to Licenses and Inspections (L&I) for blight remediation (enforcement for vacant lots, property violations, and side yards in high-risk neighborhoods), and an additional $300,000 to the Streets Department for lighting upgrades.
These enhanced and expanded initiatives come five months after City Council approved the Mayor’s FY20 Budget and Five-Year Plan. That plan included an additional $31.5 million appropriated by Council for violence prevention. The spending plans also include enhanced L&I enforcement, $12 million in funding for Neighborhood Resource Centers—giving people on probation and their families access to a broad range of services to support their health and reduce the risk of recidivism, an additional 50 police officers, funds for the citywide expansion of body-worn cameras for officers, and significant capital funds for the new Public Safety Building at 400 North Broad Street.