Mayor Jim Kenney addresses critics, gun violence response during National Night Out event

At least 321 homicides have been recorded this year, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Facing increasing political pressure to reduce violence, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney addressed the issue with his critics Tuesday during National Night Out.

Kenney says his administration is doing everything it can and blames others for what's happening.

"We're now coming out of the pandemic, so we're getting more of our violence prevention people out on the street," said Kenney.

He engaged with residents to generate support and participation for anti-crime programs.

Kenney has faced increasing criticism over his response to the city's gun violence epidemic, that's on track to surpass historic highs.

RELATED: Philadelphia police commissioner, community leaders discuss gun violence ahead of National Night Out

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Commissioner Outlaw will be offering her message on gun violence during National Night Out on Tuesday.

The latest data from the Philadelphia Police Department has recorded 321 homicides so far this year. It's a 26% increase from this time last year.

"It's the criminal court system, it's the availability of guns, it's the people that get guns that shouldn't have them," said Kenney.

He adds the city has invested millions into gun violence intervention programs, which have shown some success in recent weeks.

"We've had a couple of good weekends, not good weekends because we still lost people, but we're working every day," Kenney said.

But a growing number of city leaders are calling on the mayor for a more robust response, seeking immediate action on reducing gun violence.

"Even if we have to call the National Guard in order to get it together," said Deidre Bruce of West Philadelphia.

Patricia Pembrook of West Philadelphia said, "I do feel that more needs to be done."

Thomas Blackwell, with the Philadelphia Anti-Drug Anti Violence Network, added he doesn't want to discredit any work that's already been done, but more can always be done.

Kenney says every major city in America is dealing with similar circumstances surrounding gun violence and believes state legislature should do more to control the flow of guns.

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