Philadelphia activists search for immediate solutions as city surpasses 400 homicides in 2021

Since Saturday night at least 12 people have been shot in Philadelphia. Four of those victims died from their injuries. 

The weekend incidents included two triple shootings and involved men and women of varying ages. 

As the city's leadership responds to another violent weekend that put the city over 400 homicides so far in 2021, community groups and activists say they need more immediate help. 

Rickey Duncan is a Philadelphia anti-gun activist, and like most residents, he has questions. 

"I'm flabbergasted. I'm upset. I'm frustrated," Duncan said. 

He says his NoMo Foundation youth center can only do so much to combat the problems at hand. 

"I feel like I'm underachieving at this point because there's a lot of work and effort that's being put in, and I'm just looking for answers at this point," he added. 

At least four people were shot and killed in the city since Saturday night, and several more were injured in shootings. 

Mayor Jim Kenney responded to the grim milestone on Sunday, saying in part that group violence and crisis intervention programs will be refined and expanded. He says the city will be providing more grant money to support neighborhood violence prevention programs. 

Critics say those actions do little to save lives in the immediate future. 

"Everybody is putting all their eggs in the basket of the city and the city funding coming down a lot. I think it's more so, it's going to take a village. It's going to take a holistic approach," said Duncan. "We got to start it at home for one thing."

Pastor Carl Day is another activist who has the ear of city leaders as the head of Culture Changing Christians – a group that has received violence prevention grants in the past. 

He says he is all for finding an immediate solution, as long as it does not lead to over-policing. 

"Don't get me wrong, people who are out here being criminals definitely need to be put away. But, at the same time if you are just asking for an extra ton of cops out there, you're just asking for a bunch of routine stops, illegal pullovers, illegal searches and seizures, and everything else," Pastor Day said. 

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was also among the local officials who responded to the news that the city has surged past 400 homicides. 

"Our department continues to make a record number of crime gun confiscations, and a record number of arrests of the individuals in possession of them," her statement read in part. "However, this is not nearly enough. We will continue to work with our law enforcement and community partners to bring to justice those who seek to cause harm to our beautiful city and its people."

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner released a statement of his own Sunday, calling the violence "senseless and preventable." On Monday, during his weekly gun violence briefings, Krasner once again addressed the tragic milestone.



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