Southwest Philly police start off year with creative approach to curb gun violence

Antionette Lee
January 06, 2019 - 2:19 pm
Police in Southwest Philadelphia and a few partners started off the first weekend of the new year with, what they hope, is a creative solution to a big problem.

Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio

Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A recent report from the Philadelphia Health Department says that the opioid crisis and gun violence are slashing life expectancy in Philadelphia. Police in Southwest Philadelphia and a few partners started off the first weekend of the new year with, what they hope, is a creative solution to a big problem. 

The Turning a New Corner campaign began last September with a partnership between the Philadelphia Police Department and the National Black Police Association to curb gun violence. Officer G. Lamar Stewart says every first Friday, volunteers hit the streets to help match people with jobs. 

"So we were able to take about five employers and workforce developers out with us to four corners on Friday. We spent about 45 to 50 minutes at each corner," he said. "The employers and job developers were able to interview about roughly 90 people on the street corners in preparation for setting up interviews."  

He says with the help of social media and word of mouth, they've been able to help 47 people get  jobs. He expects that number to keep growing with many interviews set up for the week. 

"There's a sense of hopelessness in some of our communities. So beyond just trying to build a bridge of trust between the community and police, we really want to change the narrative and allow people to see law enforcement as persons who believe that the most vulnerable people in the most disenfranchised communities, their lives matter as well," Stewart said. 

He also added that "when I look at the corner, I'm seeing my sons, my daughters, my nephews my nieces. People who have potential, sometimes they just need a helping hand," he said. 

He hopes the program will expand into other areas of the city within the next two months.

"There are many of us who don't find pleasure in putting handcuffs on people. So if we can help somebody change their life and their course of action so that they don't have to turn back to whatever life they were living before," he said.  

If you are an employer who hires returning citizens or know someone looking for a job, contact Officer Stewart at gregory.stewart@phila.gov.