Philadelphia officials announce new safety initiatives amid surge in violence

As of April 11, there have been 142 homicides in Philadelphia. That's a 33% rise over this time last year.

Video Transcript

CHRISTIE ILETO: --on the effort to combat gun violence on the streets of Philadelphia. Right now, the city is in line to hit more than 600 homicides by year's end. City officials announced today plans for new initiatives designed to keep that from happening. Walter Perez joins us with the details on that $70 million plan. Walter?

WALTER PEREZ: That's right, Christie and Rick. A lot of it revolves around developing educational and employment opportunities, which city officials believe is at the heart of the problem, all as Philadelphia is poised to break records that are nothing to celebrate. Referring to the skyrocketing violence across Philadelphia as a public health crisis, Mayor Jim Kenney says the budget plan he'll present to city council this week calls for significant funding for programs to stem this violent tide.

JIM KENNEY: You'll see that the administration dedicates a total of $18.7 million of additional funding in FY22 on antiviolence efforts for a total of $35.5 million of investment.

WALTER PEREZ: All as real time statistics across the city tell an increasingly alarming story. As of this past Sunday, there have been 142 homicides in Philadelphia, a 33% rise over this time last year. 557 shootings marks a 43% increase, year to date. There have also been 948 arrests involving people found in possession of an unlicensed firearm. City officials adding that if the current rate of those so-called VUFA arrests continue, they will easily eclipse the previous record, which was set just last year. Mayor Kenney was asked if any missteps by his administration can be tied to the violent surge. Kenney responded by placing the primary blame on the pandemic.

JIM KENNEY: The entire criminal justice system shut down. I think you may have been in the city at the time this was all happening. But the courts weren't working. Probation and parole wasn't working. We weren't able to interface with people.

WALTER PEREZ: Police commissioner Danielle Outlaw adding that with all the programs and patrol initiatives put into motion, it'll only work with the help of people from the community.

DANIELLE OUTLAW: With full support of our internal and external partners, stakeholders, and the community, we will hopefully begin to turn this tide of violence.

WALTER PEREZ: And city officials say they're aiming for a 25% reduction in violence in some of the more problematic parts of Philadelphia by 2023. Meanwhile, the most sobering piece of information released today was of the hundreds of shootings so far this year, 54 of the people shot have been children. Rick?

RICK WILLIAMS: All right. That's a sobering statistic. Thank you, Walter. Well the mur--