Philly launches "Operation Pressure Point"

Crime-fighting task force involves 17 agencies
April 7, 2009 8:43:30 PM PDT
Philadelphia police are now coordinating with federal and state agencies on a new strategy to fight crime. Details of the plan were announced Tuesday morning. In the past, Philadelphia police have gone it alone for the most part in targeting high crime areas with special task forces. There has been some success, notably the drop in Philadelphia's murder rate.

Now, federal and state authorities will be getting into the action on a regular basis as part of "Operation Pressure Point." It will target the most violent sections of town where murder rates are highest. The task force will run from April through November, when murder rates are at their highest.

Agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms will join Philadelphia police on the weekends, because analysis shows that's when gun crime spikes.

So far in 2009, Philadelphia's homicide total stands at 70, which is down 4% from the same time in 2008. All told, Philadelphia's homicide total in 2008 was down 15% from 2007.

"We're targeting specific locations, and we'll be moving those locations based on data, based on what we think is occurring, or likely to occur," said Charles Ramsey, Philadelphia's police commissioner. "So it does start this weekend and it will continue all the way through October."

"Last year, as you well know, we made significant gains at reducing homicides and shootings," added Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. "But as both the police commissioner and I have said, 'It's not enough. It's never enough.'"

"The commissioner has wisely decided to put his manpower on the streets during the times when the crimes are really being committed," Laurie Magid, U.S. Attorney said. "We in federal law enforcement, agents and attorneys, plan to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the commissioner and his officers on those weekends."

The new program starts Easter weekend, and all of "Operation Pressure Point" will encompass 17 law enforcement agencies.

You can get the latest crime statistics from the Philadelphia Police by CLICKING HERE for the force's crime data mapping site.

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