SPECIAL COMMITTEE OF CITY COUNCIL TO EXAMINE & COORDINATE GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION STRATEGIES

In Council News, Curtis Jones, Jr., Darrell L. Clarke, David Oh, Featured, Kenyatta Johnson, News by PHL Council

Clarke, Johnson & Jones Introduce Resolution Authorizing Comprehensive Citywide Effort to Prevent & Reduce Gun Violence in Philadelphia

           Philadelphia, June 8, 2017 City Council President Darrell L. Clarke (5th District), Councilman Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), and Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District) on Thursday introduced a resolution authorizing the creation of a Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention that will convene research and leaders from sectors including government, law enforcement, public health, social services, and community development.

While cities across the country including Philadelphia have seen dramatic reductions in violent crime over the last two decades, the proliferation of firearms via legal and illegal transactions has been largely unchecked.  In Philadelphia, shootings occur at a rate of more than three per day. Of the more than 3,000 Philadelphians killed over the last decade, 83 percent were killed with a gun.

Approximately 480 people have been shot in Philadelphia this year, of which more than 100 have died.

“There are unsung heroes all across this City working to end the crisis of gun violence, from block captains to survivors who advocate for change. The Special Committee will allow City government to take a comprehensive look at everything from community-level to international strategies that are seeing success, so that we can have an informed conversation about innovations that Philadelphia should adopt or expand,” said Councilman Johnson, Vice Chair of the Committee on Public Safety and author of the resolution. “I look forward to working with committed partners across all levels of government and in the private and nonprofit sectors as we strive to make every neighborhood in Philadelphia safe for all.”

 The mission of the Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention will include: analyzing the outcomes of existing gun violence prevention efforts; identifying local and national strategies that have seen positive outcomes; increasing the City’s capacity for data collection and analysis of violent incidents; developing metrics to measure progress toward strategic goals; reviewing allocation of City resources to ensure optimization of results; and improving intragovernmental and cross-sector coordination on gun violence prevention efforts.

In addition, the Special Committee will serve as a coordinator for gun violence prevention efforts across sectors, neighborhoods and disciplines, many of which are not currently connected to or in consistent communication with one another.

Councilman Jones, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety, said: “Our law enforcement community deserves to be commended for the improved safety environment many Philadelphians are experiencing, but they need all of our help in order to get these numbers to zero. The Special Committee will convene stakeholders who are passionate about making Philadelphia a gun violence-free city, and work with a laser focus toward solving the terrible social conditions that drive so many – particularly our young people — to pick up a gun.”

“Random violence can touch us all at any time. We are fortunate to have Councilman David Oh here with us today. The families of Dominique Gainey and Irell Williams, shot the same night Councilman Oh was stabbed, are not so lucky,” Council President Clarke added.

“By refusing to allow cities like Philadelphia to enact commonsense gun regulations, NRA-influenced state governments are sending the message that city residents suffering from violence are on our own. We cannot allow ourselves to be numb to daily headlines or statistics about gun violence while people whose lives are directly touched cry out for help. We owe it to victims, to our law enforcement officers, and to our communities to attack this crisis now.”

Councilman Oh was stabbed outside of his home in Southwest Philadelphia in an attempted robbery on the night of May 31, 2017. That same night, Gainey, 24, and Williams, 17, were killed in a triple shooting in North Philadelphia.

Upon authorization of City Council, appointments to the Special Committee and a public hearing schedule will be announced.

Read the resolution.

Watch Councilman Johnson’s remarks from the Stated Meeting held Thursday, June 8 after introduction of the resolution:

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Photo: St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office used under Creative Commons License.

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