Violence prevention programs: Philly spends millions, report looks at where it's going

Pat Loeb
December 17, 2018 - 5:52 pm
(L) Vanessa Garrett Harley and (R) Theron Pride

Pat Loeb/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The City of Philadelphia spent more than $13 million on violence prevention programs in 2017, without a strategy to guide how the money was used. That's one of the things that will change as a result of the report released Monday on the city's response to surging violent crime.

Deputy managing director Vanessa Garrett Harley says it's the first time the city has done a comprehensive audit of all the community-based programs it funds. It came up with a list of 38; many of them aimed at youth, which Garrett Harley says have been effective.

“At keeping lower numbers in the juvenile justice arena,” she said. “Arrests are down as well as the number of kids in the Juvenile Justice Center.”

READ: City council ends 2018 with legislation rush, but leaves key bills held

But her director of strategies, Theron Pride, says the city needs to invest more in programs that serve people at the highest risk for violence, those out of school and not working, with previous contact with the criminal justice system.

“It's not easy work but for those young men, particularly young men of color between the ages of 25 and 34, there's some real opportunities here as a city to make some more dramatic reductions in violence,” he said.

Pride says they're expanding programs targeted to that population, as they work to devise an overall strategy to put money where it will be most effective.