Philadelphia City Council unveils gun violence prevention agenda

They are the scenes that are playing out nightly in Philadelphia: stunned neighbors on steps behind a backdrop of police lights and crime tape after yet another shooting.

Video Transcript

- Now to the effort to find new and innovative solutions to Philadelphia's ever-growing violence problem. Action News reporter George Solis is live now in Center City with more on how officials are hoping to stop crime before it even happens. George.

GEORGE SOLIS: That's right, Sarah. City council members met today to talk about the problem. Their focus is on job creation, specifically in under-served communities. They stress that the key to getting some of this violence to stop is enrolling teens and young adults into programs that keep them off the streets.

These are the scenes that are playing out nightly in Philadelphia, stunned neighbors on steps behind a backdrop of police lights and crime tape, and while not always visible, more often than not, a grieving family it's been destroyed by the gun violence that shows no signs of slowing down.

What is the solution?

CARL DAY: Man, that's a heavy question. I think solutions, it's going to be on everybody.

GEORGE SOLIS: Pastor Carl Day has had a front row seat to the escalating violence. He spends many nights on city streets talking to teens and young adults, trying to stop it before it even starts.

CARL DAY: If we don't do it, who else will?

GEORGE SOLIS: Since April 11 the city has seen a 36% increase in murders over last year. Fifty shooting victims have been minors. That's a 40% increase over what we've seen in 2020.

CHERELLE PARKER: Make no mistake about it. Gun violence is Philadelphia's public enemy number one.

GEORGE SOLIS: Tuesday, Day stood alongside other advocates as city leaders detailed their approach to aid in the fight. It's called the Violence Prevention and Opportunity Agenda, a menu of options including a $400 million initiative centered around job creation and community outreach. The announcement made at nonprofit NOMO, New Options More Opportunities in North Philadelphia, which has been doing a lot of this work already. All of this as council and the mayor start budget discussions for the next year.

KENYATTA JOHNSON: It is no more important issue than we are facing here in the city of Philadelphia today than saving our youth.

GEORGE SOLIS: For those already on the ground like Pastor Day, it's also an issue of not losing hope.

CARL DAY: We got to get out here and really actively engage people, let them know that we love them, let them know that we care, with no agenda here, but just to really help save lives.

GEORGE SOLIS: And council members, a lot of their discussion is going to be centered on who gets cash for these programs, and then following up to make sure it's actually making a difference.

We're live in Center City. George Solis, Channel 6 Action News. Sarah.

- George, thank you.