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Gun violence surges in Philadelphia despite recent efforts to tame it

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Gun violence surges in Philadelphia despite recent efforts to tame it

Aug 09, 2022 | 10:39 am ET
By Special to the Capital-Star
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Gun violence surges in Philadelphia despite recent efforts to tame it
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District Attorney Larry Krasner (Jared Piper/Philadelphia City Council/City & State Pa.).

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PHILADELPHIA — Despite the vast number of resources being used and protests taking place to combat Philadelphia’s gun violence epidemic, the city’s murder rate appears to be on pace to match or exceed last year’s totals.

According to statistics from the City Controller office’s website, as of Sunday, there have been 333 homicides in Philadelphia, a 3 percent increase from 2021. Also of Sunday, the total number of shootings in the city has increased to 1,422. This is 42 more incidents compared to the 1,380 that occurred around the same time last year.

“What you see on TV is not real,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said during a Monday news conference about the indictments of two known gun violence perpetrators. “We are talking about a situation where police go to a location where they often do not have a single witness, no video in many instances, they talk to the victim and the victim says I’m not talking.”

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According to Krasner, more funding should be delegated from Pennsylvania’s Legislature towards forensic technology in order to help more police departments solve gun violence and homicide cases.

“We have to support our police department by giving them the resources they need to get past a culture of I’m not talking,” said Krasner. “So, I am going to respectfully call on the city to prioritize getting the state to give the money to the city to have a brand-new state-of-the-art forensics lab.”

As a way to combat the growing gun violence crisis within the city, the District Attorney’s office has expanded its Gun Violence Task Force to include additional agents and analysts, along with the use of grand jury investigations to uncover more information surrounding these cases.

Also in an effort to address the city’s rise in gun violence, City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson has hosted a series of public safety peace walks.

He established his Peace Not Guns organization in 1998 as a way to prevent gun violence and offer youth an alternative to the dangerous streets of Philadelphia with mentorships and programming.

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“It will take a partnership between those in local, state and federal government, those who are represented in the business community, those who are represented in the education community, but most importantly partnering with the residents who are out here dealing with gun violence day in and day out in order to reduce the level of gun violence that we are seeing,” said Johnson, who also co-chairs City Council’s Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention.

“We didn’t get here overnight and we won’t solve this issue overnight,” he said. “There is a long-term strategy of focusing on violence prevention initiatives and making sure that people who are significantly impacted and influenced by gun violence receive the level of support they need so that they don’t pick up guns, but we also have to make sure that we are working with our law enforcement officials to strategically come up with strategies to hold those accountable who are wreaking havoc on our neighborhoods.”