Philadelphia officials ‘outraged’ as Democrat-run city surpasses 400 homicides amid calls for more police

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As Philadelphia surpassed 400 homicides so far this year, one city councilmember is calling for more police officers and more funding in the Democrat-controlled city riddled with gun violence. 

“It’s way out of control,” Cindy Bass, who represents the 8th District, told WPVI-TV. “Stop the bleeding. Get cops on the ground now, get more money and resources than what we’re spending now.”

After at least four people were killed and another 10 were wounded across the City of Brotherly Love over the weekend, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is expected to address Philadelphia’s grim new milestone at a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday. 

Mayor Jim Kenney, who has been in office since January 2016, said Sunday he plans to announce additional grassroots organizations this week to benefit from the $155.7 million in funding reserved to reduce and prevent violence.

Just 29% of homicides and 15% of nonfatal shootings result in arrests, Krasner said in a statement Sunday, arguing to “absolutely restructure institutions so that violence prevention is a true priority.” 

“I am heartbroken and outraged that we’ve lost more than 400 Philadelphians to preventable violence this year,” Kenney also wrote Sunday. “My heart goes out to all families suffering from enormous grief. Our administration continues to act with urgency to reduce violence and save lives.”  

Philadelphia Police “is making arrests and taking a record number of illegal firearms off our streets, but they need the public’s help,” the mayor said, urging anyone with information about a crime to report it to 215-686-TIPS, “so we can prevent the senseless shootings that are tearing our communities apart.” 

“I know most Philadelphians are rightfully outraged and frustrated by our city’s rise in violence,” Kenney continued. “Please know, our administration takes this crisis very seriously. We are committed to working with all of our criminal justice & community partners to create a safer city for us all.” 

In her own statement, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she was “devastated by the rising homicide rate in our city this year, which has sadly surpassed 400 murders. These are hundreds of people that have had their lives taken from them; families that have been left traumatized, and entire communities that have been torn apart.” 

“Our department continues to make a record number of crime gun confiscations, and a record number of arrests of the individuals in possession of them,” the commissioner continued. “However, this is not nearly enough. We will continue to work with our law enforcement and community partners to bring to justice those who seek to cause harm to our beautiful city and its people.”

Krasner said restructuring institutions means “taking advantage of forensic technologies to solve shootings that are not captured on camera or for which there are no available eyewitnesses” and “shoring up training and staffing for homicide and non-fatal shooting investigations.” He also stressed the arrests following shootings would show “greater accountability to the public, so that there is more trust among community members and potential witnesses in the police and criminal justice system.”

“We should all be outraged that senseless, preventable violence continues to claim and break lives here in Philadelphia and in communities across the country that are also experiencing alarming increases in gun violence,” he said in his statement obtained by Fox 29. “We have seen cycles of increased homicides before, and we have more research and data than ever on which to formulate solutions.” 

Joining hundreds who gathered at Vernon Park Saturday to address the rising violence, Patricia Griffin, whose son, Darien, was shot and killed in Philadelphia in 2003, spoke about ending the “no snitch” mindset that encourages residents not to report violent offenders to the police. 

“We need to start believing that people’s lives matter, nobody has the right to take a life,” she told WPVI-TV.

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