Kenney calls level of violence in city a 'public health crisis' — and offers a 'cure'

Mayor gives cabinet 100 days to develop plan for reducing shootings, homicides

Pat Loeb
September 27, 2018 - 6:29 pm
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

Holli Stephens / KYW Newsradio, file

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Mayor Jim Kenney wants to take a public health approach to violent crime in the city, rather than depend on law enforcement alone. 

He has given his cabinet 100 days to develop a plan for reducing shootings and homicides.

Kenney said Philadelphia's homicide rate — more than 300 a year, which is four times the national average — breaks his heart.

"It's hard to sleep when you realize that the potential the city has is lost with every loss of life, with every shooting, with every traumatized child or family," he said. "We lose the opportunity to make the city the best it can be."

He's calling for a whole new approach, one that will use research and data — "from health, the courts, prisons, job training, addiction" — and encompass the root causes of violence.

Kenney noted the proliferation of guns is one of the worst problems, and the city can't do anything about that because the state has constrained it. But he believes this new approach can help.

"Most important, this plan will be actionable," he added. "I don't want something that sits on the shelf, that's nice to announce and then is forgotten."

He said he wants it on his desk by Jan. 5.