9 Democratic Philadelphia mayoral candidates attend gun violence forum

6abc was the media partner and Christie Ileto served as a panelist of four journalists.

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Friday, January 20, 2023
9 Democratic Philadelphia mayoral candidates attend gun violence forum
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The race for mayor is a crowded field, including five former Philadelphia City Council members.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Nine out of 10 Philadelphia Democratic mayoral candidates attended a forum at St Joseph's University about gun violence Thursday night. The forum was organized by Councilmembers Kenyatta Johnson and Curtis Jones.

6abc was the media partner and Christie Ileto served as a panelist of four journalists.

The race for mayor is a crowded field, including five former Philadelphia City Council members.

Thursday night's candidates included: Jeff Brown, James DeLeon, Allan Domb, Derek Green, Helen Gym, Cherelle Parker, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Rebecca Rhynhart and Rev. Warren Bloom Sr.

Crime has become a top concern for Philadelphians due to the sharp increase in gun violence. Philadelphia had more than 2,000 shooting victims in each of the last three years, with fatal shootings peaking at 508 in 2021.

WATCH: The Mayoral Candidate Forum on Gun Violence

"How are you going to support the victims who lost loved ones to violence?" asked Dorothy Johnson-Spight of Mothers-in-Charge. She was one of several anti-violence community organizations in the crowd who submitted questions to the moderator.

Bilal Qayyum, of Father's Day Rally, is a member of another community organization with questions.

"I'd like to hear clear concise answers to how they would stop violence," said Qayyum.

Candidates answered what their view of policing would be. Some sparred over reform, how they would tackle Kensington's open-air drug market and citywide blight.

But it was during a lightning round of questions allowing candidates only "yes" or "no" answers that drew the most reaction from the crowd.

The questions included if they would enact a state of emergency for gun violence, support stop-and-frisk, keep the office of gun violence prevention and keep Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

Some of the candidates did not stick to yes or no answers.

Action News asked audience members if they were satisfied with what they heard.

"But a lot of them I knew what they were going to say, but the whole concept is we're not doing nothing," said Carlton Young of West Philadelphia.

And Dee Dukes of Wynnefield said, "I was pleased to hear the responses that came from them tonight, but it's more than just talk, it's really action."

RELATED: Check the 6abc Neighborhood Safety Tracker