By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Philadelphia says that while the number of homicides has dropped 30 percent compared with last year, a recent weekend that saw ten murders is pushing city officials to highlight a more “holistic” approach to combating crime.
Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety, says the spike in homicides, combined with the raw emotional impact of the Trayvon Martin case, pushed the Nutter administration to verbalize its tactics.
Pointing to a recent Time magazine essay by Mayor Nutter, Gillison said there remains a “disproportionate likelihood of young African-American males to be victims and perpetrators of crime. And that’s a fact — to be acknowledged, yes. To be dealt with honestly, through a collaborative approach, also has to be done.”
To that end, city managing director Rich Negrin said the officials are spending more time and energy in the city’s 22nd police district, which includes north-central Philadelphia and Strawberry Mansion.
“The 22nd has been our most violent, in terms of shootings and murders, in the last several years,” Negrin says.
Negrin says the 22nd leads the rest of the city in several categories including serious crimes, poverty rate, truancy, and lags in educational attainment.
“So it’s our effort to have this holistic, targeted approach in the areas in which its needed the most,” he said today.
Other city officials say their programs and initiatives are interrelated and focused on the same goals of reducing crime and decreasing the number of young black male casualties in Philadelphia.