PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fresh off his successful re-election bid, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney outlined the top priority for this second term — preventing gun violence. The mayor said Wednesday that $5 million will be appropriated to help with gun violence prevention and helping communities hit by gun violence.
Kenney held the news conference with City Council President Darrell Clarke. The money will go to helping with crisis intervention programs, mentorship and workforce development.
Money will also go to blight remediation by shoring up abandoned houses and securing vacant lots.
The $5 million appropriated is on top of the $31.5 million that the City Council approved earlier this year for violence prevention.
Despite the money that’s being spent, as of midnight, according to the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 301 homicides in the city, which is 7% more than this time last year.
Kenney said despite the city’s efforts, gun violence will continue to be a problem until lawmakers in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. ban assault weapons.
“Until we reduce the availability of these weapons, I don’t have an answer for that. We can continue to educate, to invest in education, to invest in prevention, to invest in police, to invest in all the things we invest in, but as long as the Legislature and the U.S. Congress allows these guns in our society, we’re swimming upstream,” Kenney said.
In terms of the blight remediation, the city says they will start in West Philadelphia. They hope to have the program up and running by the spring.