City leaders seek answers in combating Philly's spike in violence

Gun violence was front and center as city officials held a press conference on the issue Wednesday.

One major issue discussed was making sure at-risk kids have a safe place to go, considering the spate of recent shootings and deaths involving children and guns.

It may be 90-plus degrees in Philadelphia, but inside the NOMO Foundation, the air condition hums at full blast. Every day, dozens of kids come to the North Philly center to escape the heat and the city’s violence.

"This is a 25 and eight job. Right now, Philadelphia is in the state of emergency from this gun violence," remarked NOMO Foundation Executive Director Rickey Duncan.

The foundations is one of the programs that received funding from the city to give at-risk kids a place to go. A place to have a healthy meal and stay safe in the summer. The city just needs more of them.

"Being able to have hubs where these kids can find a safe place they can go and know they are going to be protected, they are going to be secure and they are going to be educated," Duncan explained.

But, as movie time was winding down at NOMO, a mile away, city leaders briefed the press on the summer spike of violence.

"The last few weeks have been particularly harrowing," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw

The numbers are staggering. So far, in 2021, 1,140 people have been shot. There have been 286 homicides. Illegal gun arrests are up 67 percent and the trend is higher caliber and untraceable guns.

"All of these scenes that I have been to, I’ve seen a wide range of firepower being used, in addition to the privately made firearms that we’re also seeing that folks know can’t be traced," Commissioner Outlaw explained.

"More and more people just leave their guns in cars. And, they walk. And, those guns are the same guns we’re facing every day," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore stated.

The city says it’s working on long-term solutions like job training and employment programs. But, one of the biggest immediate problems is keeping cops on the job. The department is trying to fill more than 300 jobs.

"It’s a very difficult job and officers have gone through a very difficult time in the last year, plus, many have decided not to do this anymore. It’s difficult to recruit people into this profession in this particular environment," Mayor Jim Kenney commented.



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