Philadelphia mayoral candidates debate solutions to city's gun violence crisis

Several candidates running for Mayor of Philadelphia held a debate on gun violence Thursday night at St. Joseph’s University.

The lively debate included nine candidates including former Philadelphia councilmembers Allan Domb, Cherelle Parker, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Helen Gym, Derek Green; former Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart; former Municipal Judge James DeLeon, Reverend Warren Bloom and businessman and grocer Jeff Brown.

The candidates addressed questions on the opioid crisis in Kensington, making arrests in shootings involving victims who are young Black men and funding for Philadelphia Police.

The forum was organized by Councilmembers Kenyatta Johnson and Curtis Jones Jr., who both chair committees on public safety.

"This is the number one issue we need to address to make sure young people are safe, make sure our seniors are safe and most importantly our neighborhoods," said Councilman Johnson.

"Confidence and a plan that works together interdepartmentally," said Councilman Jones on what kind of leader Philadelphia is looking for. "The use of technology, cameras, shot spotter and how do you hire more police."

Dozens of stakeholders in the community attended in hopes of hearing clear direction on how candidates plan on preventing gun violence.

"Be open and share what they think, what they can do, not make any promises that they can’t do that’s what I’m looking for," said Dr. Dorothy Johnson-Speight, the National Executive Director of Mothers in Charge. "I think the right kind of leadership can make a difference. If they’re partnering with everyone who’s impacted by this."