By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Nutter today told stakeholders involved in youth violence prevention that they should commit to a long-term effort and not go for short-term fixes.

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During a speech today on the campus of Temple University, the mayor noted that the city’s murder rate is at its lowest point since 1967 and violent crime is at a 30-year low.

But in some neighborhoods, he said, it doesn’t feel that way.

“Poverty, lack of educational opportunity and attainment, unemployment, and violence.  These challenges are interconnected, and they affect every person in this city,” he said.

Nutter says the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative, whose members include government, philanthropic, and private-sector partners and organizations, is working with a singular focus:  “a safety net of security for our city, which began with a new way of looking at these interrelated problems and a new way of working together to connect the solutions.”

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Most of its strategies are being deployed in some of the city’s highest-crime, highest-need neighborhoods, encompassing the 22nd Police District in North Philadelphia.

“The reality is that it’s no longer about policing, arrests, or prison,” Nutter said.  “It’s about prevention, in the early stages of a young person’s life; intervention, when they become at risk to making bad choices; and, when they reach that fork in the road, ensuring that every single child has the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty, crime, and violence.”

The 22nd District includes Strawberry Mansion, Brewerytown, and North Central Philadelphia.

“These neighborhoods have some of the highest shooting and homicide rates, the highest poverty and unemployment rates, and the lowest graduation rates in the city,” the mayor noted.

And he said that 42 percent of the people in the 22nd District live at or below the national poverty line, and Strawberry Mansion High, the only public high school in the district, had a graduation rate of just 36 percent — the lowest in the city.

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