PHILADELPHIA, PA – As gun violence and homicides continue an unprecedented rise in Philadelphia, City Council today introduce a resolution to create an Anti-Violence Resource Network, a one-stop clearinghouse of information to guide Philadelphians directly affected by violence to available resources within the City of Philadelphia.
Homicides in 2021 reached 75 yesterday – a 36 percent increase over 2020, which ended with a 25-year high. Shootings this year are at 351 – 64 percent more than last year, which ended with a record 2,240 shootings. As of yesterday, 57 teenagers under the age of 18 have been shot in the city this year, a 137 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Last Wednesday, gunfire erupted at a major transit hub in Philadelphia – the Olney Transportation Center. Eight people, several in their 70s, were shot in broad daylight.
Council has taken multiple steps and held numerous hearings on the relentless pace and problems associated with gun violence. It initiated ongoing litigation against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania over its role creating the danger of illegal guns in our neighborhoods. Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Special Committee to Prevent Gun Violence have explored deeply the many causes of gun violence and recommended an array of actions. Another Council resolution seeks to have the mayor declare a state of emergency citywide. Still, the problem of rising gun violence persists.
The idea of the Philadelphia Anti-Violence Resource Network, introduced by Council Majority Leader Cherelle Parker (9th District) at the request of Council President Darrell Clarke (5th District) will be a trusted, confidential resource network. It will maintain a current list of all
available services and programs within Philadelphia, answer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to connect community organizations and residents to these available resources. 11 Council members co-signed the Resolution introduced today, in addition to the Council President.
“The Philadelphia Anti-Violence Resource Network will provide much-needed support to local community organizations in need of access to critical resources, to programs and the ability to offer real-time support and violence prevention interventions to youth and individuals within their community,” said Council President Clarke. “We need a one-stop shop to help people navigate the resources out there to help them once they’ve been exposed to violence.”
The Philadelphia Anti-Violence Resource Network will be designed, managed, and staffed by those with issue expertise, lived experience, and firsthand knowledge of neighborhoods most impacted by high rates of violence.
The Philadelphia Anti-Violence Resource Network will benefit from lessons learned from the City of Philadelphia’s 311 Constituent Call Center, Philadelphia’s Domestic Violence Hotline, Project HOME’s Outreach Coordination Center, and other best practice leaders from across the city and country.
“City Council, Philadelphia police, the Kenney administration and community anti-violence advocates are taking multiple approaches to reducing gun violence,” Clarke said. “But it’s clear from these escalating numbers – we must do more. We must act boldly – working together — to reduce, prevent and ultimately end this terrible epidemic of gun violence occurring in our city. The Philadelphia Anti-Violence Resource Network is another tool we can use.”