PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Tuesday, Philadelphia Police outlined new steps they’re taking to try and get a hold on the rising gun violence in the city. Alarming is the word Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross used to describe statistics of the city’s gun violence.
A youth job fair in South Philadelphia was bustling with applicants hoping to get a summertime job.
Retail, fast food, etc. Janayh Hayes knows what she wants.
“A shoe store,” she said.
Sponsored by the police department, the event coincidentally fell only an hour after Philadelphia Police commanders released troubling statistics.
The homicide rate is at 130 in 2019 — 10 more than this day last year. The picture gets worse. Of those killings, a gun was used in 89.5%.
“That’s gotta give you pause, to say ‘Wow,’ just the percentage is growing at an alarming rate,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. “From my two times in homicide, it was always 80, 82%. That’s very high for us, and it’s something everybody should be concerned about.”
Overall, police say crime is down, but shootings are up. Meanwhile at the job fair, getting teens in the workforce has a direct tie to crime reduction efforts, police say.
“Sometimes youths get caught up in these things, so by doing a program like this, we’re helping them find to be constructive with their time,” Philadelphia Police Captain Brian Hartzell said.
“I just feel that if people are working more, they won’t have so much time on their hands,” Hayes said.
“I think it’s definitely a good thing — keep the kids off the streets,” West Philadelphia resident Diamond Bond said.
For the summer months, additional police will be added to the streets. Other officers will have extended hours.
“We will not rest until we continue to drive down crime as a whole, in particular this gun violence issue, which is persistent,” Ross said.
Ross also said that he has little faith in the Pennsylvania legislator to address the gun problem. He described it as a potential up-hill battle.