Philadelphia officials announce increase of resources to address violent crime surge

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- During Wednesday's bi-weekly public hearing on violence in Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney announced the creation of more programs, initiatives, and outreach efforts to address the city's problems involving violence.

"To achieve and sustain a reduction in gun violence, and improve the quality of life in communities most affected by gun violence, the city is investing in organizations with proven records of delivering quality anti-violence intervention," said Kenney.

In the meantime, the shooting and homicide rates continue to soar.

According to city officials, less than three weeks into the new year, there have already been 32 homicides.

That marks a 19% increase over this time last year, which was the deadliest year in Philadelphia history.

There have also been 114 shootings since January 1, which represents a 25% increase year to date.

"The rising numbers are beyond troubling, especially given that during the winter months, we generally would tend to see a decrease in the number of crimes committed. But unfortunately, over the last few years we haven't seen those lulls in crime," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

City leaders say there have been more than 100 carjackings, including attempted carjackings, over the past three weeks.

There were 757 carjackings in Philadelphia last year.

If the current rate continues, the city could end 2022 with more than 1,700 carjackings and attempted carjackings.

But Outlaw is encouraged over new staffing initiatives and arrest rates involving people in possession of guns used in the commission of a crime, also known as VUFA arrests.

"Year-to-date, our officers have made 83 VUFA arrests," she said. "That equates to roughly four and a half individuals arrested for firearms violations every day."

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