'This needs to stop': Gun violence crisis reaches 500 homicides in Philadelphia

Mayor Kenney said that reducing the violence is his administration's top priority.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia has now reached a grim milestone with 500 homicides in 2021.

This comes after a 55-year-old woman was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon in South Philadelphia.

RELATED: South Philadelphia shooting marks city's 500th homicide

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As the city inches closer to the grim benchmark of 500 homicides, some community organizations are calling for a truce ahead of the holidays.

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw were joined by federal, state and local officials at City Hall to address the violence.

"It's terrible every morning to get up and have to go look at the numbers and then look at the news and see the stories. It's just crazy. It's just crazy and this needs to stop," Kenney said.

Kenney said that reducing the violence is his administration's top priority. He also called on lawmakers in Harrisburg to allow the city to pass more restrictive gun laws to keep weapons off the streets.

The city of Philadelphia has now tied the record for the highest number ever recorded - 500 back in 1990.

"Each and every homicide carries with it a profound sense of loss," said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw Wednesday night after the city recorded the grim milestone. "However, for our City to have reached such a tragic milestone - 500 lives cut short - it carries a weight that is almost impossible to truly comprehend."

In West Philadelphia, residents marched down the street, chanting, "Stop the Killing! Stop the shooting!"

"We need a plan that is cohesive, that makes a difference and stops this craziness," said Urban League of Philadelphia President Andrea Custis, who also called on police to increase patrols.

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6abc and WHYY team up for a town hall on the gun violence crisis in Philadelphia, which has claimed more than 345 lives this year.

Outlaw acknowledged that there's no way to have a police officer on every corner 24/7, but she and other leaders think a collaboration with community members is key to stopping the violence. Part of that involves offering an incentive for people to speak up.

"There is a standing $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction for every unsolved homicide in our city," said Outlaw, who added that the city has been constantly developing and implementing strategies to work with the different contributing factors to gun violence.

That includes providing opportunities that could curtail some young people from turning to the streets.

"Get young people trained for careers and trades and get them on a path to make them feel like they have a future as opposed to putting a gun in their waistbands and selling drugs," said Mayor Kenney.

City leaders say they're also focused on providing young people with more opportunities and ways to heal their trauma.

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