(Philadelphia) -- Mayor Jim Kenney announced on Thursday that the city would dedicate more than $4 million to "interrupting" violence on neighborhood streets.
Flanked by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, members of City Council and anti-violence advocates, Kenny introduced a set of new programs that will focus on gun violence as a public health problem. He said the city would seek to promote a more data-driven and "holistic" approach to stanching the city's rising homicide rate.
"Violence has plagued Philadelphia for generations. We are doing everything we can to change that ... But we must change the mindset that policing is the only way to get this done," Kenney said. "Violence is only a symptom of a larger crisis of pervasive poverty in Philadelphia."
As part of this initiative, Kenney indicated that his administration would devote $4.4 million over the next six months to advance several of these efforts, including beefed-up prisoner re-entry programs and more community-focused approaches, such as "violence interrupter" teams that have found success across the country.
"What we did was look at comprehensive, holistic, trauma-informed approaches," said Chantay Love, a crisis response expert and program director from the anti-violence nonprofit Every Murder Is Real. "Every life is too important. We hurt together, we heal together, we live, we grow, we succeed, and we are powerful."
The new investment and shifting focus are the product of a new five-year anti-violence plan, developed over 100 days following a September "call to action" issued by Kenney in response to the rising rate of gun deaths. The city recorded 351 homicides in 2018, the highest total in more than a decade. The increase in murders has come even as the city's overall crime rate is on the decline.
To read the full article by Ryan Briggs, click here.