Philadelphia community pushing for solutions to end outbreak in violence

Maggie Kent Image
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Philadelphia community pushing for solutions to end outbreak in violence
Philadelphia community pushing for solutions to end outbreak in violence. Maggie Kent has more on Action News at 4 p.m. on January 14, 2020.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Since the start of 2020, Philadelphia has seen more than one murder per day. A disturbing pattern of violence that spiked over the weekend with seven homicides.

Now the question is -- what can the city do to stop it? A meeting at police headquarters between top brass, city officials focused in.

Theron Pride, of the city's Office of Violence Prevention, says its task force, expanding to 64 community crisis workers, reach people at a crucial moment.

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"If we really want to reduce the violence tomorrow it's to get to the person who's at that critical moment of thinking whether or not they need a gun to protect themselves or need to retaliate," said Pride.

Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter says a lack of hope is an underlying problem, as well as a lack of opportunity and jobs.

A focus now is stopping retaliatory violence.

"We're trying to drive our patrols to areas where we predict retaliation or evidence of ongoing crime. We're shaking people loose, putting out everybody we can and have a bigger uniform presence at those locations," said Coulter.

Dr. Dorothy Johnson-Speight is the founder of "Mothers in Charge." She says the city should tap into what community groups have to offer.

"Sometimes we have information that may not be provided to a city official or police, ," says Dr. Johnson-Speight.

Philadelphia averaging roughly 1 murder a day to start 2020

OUTBREAK OF VIOLENCE: Philadelphia averaging roughly 1 murder a day as reported during Action News at 11 on January 13, 2020.

Reverend Luis Cortés CEO of Esperanza in Hunting Park says churches, schools, government, police and neighbors are ready to fight back.

"The one organizing piece we would need is who is going to be the person to bring us all to the table so we can act in conjunction," said Reverend Cortés.

He also believes the re-distribution of neighborhoods as people are being priced out can stir violence by people vying to control new territory.

In each part of Philadelphia, these conversations are being had. What everyone agrees on is there is no one cause to violence in Philadelphia, and certainly no one solution.