Philadelphia police to increase amount of officers on streets this summer

Kristen Johanson
May 28, 2019 - 3:04 pm
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross

Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — More police officers will be patrolling Philadelphia streets this summer than ever before in recent history — all part of the commissioner’s plan to target the ever-rising amount of murders and shootings in the city.

Homicides are already up about 10 percent from last year’s record-breaking year — and nearly all are shooting deaths.

The number of people shot so far this year is up about 5 percent from last year. Overall crime, however, has been steadily going down over the last few years, according to FBI data on the number of crimes reported.

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"We spend more time on trying to save young men from harming each other than just about anything else we do," said Commissioner Richard Ross.

He plans to deploy dozens of cops to high-crime districts, pulling cops from administrative jobs and adding them to street patrol.

"We will have many officers, who already work street capacity, who will be working additional tours of duty," he said, "units like Highway Patrol, Narcotics Strike Force, and many tactical district personnel will be working extended tours," up to three hours a shift. 

Preventative measures are equally important, Ross noted, and they rely on communities to thwart possible violence.

"Let us know before something kicks off. You hear something in the neighborhood, let us know anonymously so that we can save lives."

The department will also host more job fairs — as well as mentoring and GED programs like the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia (PAL) and the Community Health Enrichment Empowerment Resource Service program (C.H.E.E.R.S.) — throughout the summer in an effort to give people economic opportunities.

"There is some nexus between people who need employment and some people who choose to resort to this type of behavior, and we want to get them out of it before they get in it."