By Joe Holden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials are once again speaking out about growing gun violence. It comes as the city surpassed last year’s total for homicides, and we’re not even halfway through October.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw spoke at a rare news conference Tuesday morning, taking questions about the city’s homicide rate. She says there have been some positive trends over the last month but she also called this a “harsh reality.”

Crystal Justice says only after her son was shot and killed did she realize for the kids around her home in West Philadelphia, there’s nothing to do.

“We gotta go to the root of the source. A couple months later I seen in the community, it was nothing for the youth to do and I’m like then this is why they’re getting into so much,” Justice said.

Eyewitness News chatted with Justice about her late son, Nasir Hopkins, hours after Philadelphia’s police commissioner of nine months took questions about a homicide rate that just surpassed the entire number of killings in 2019.

“We are working very diligently and passionately toward the goal of a safer Philadelphia,” Outlaw said.

Commissioner Outlaw says a number of factors have contributed to what department sources tell CBS3 is a culture of lawlessness on city streets. The commissioner hinted at that when taking questions.

“Folks are telling us on the street flat out, ‘don’t worry, I’ll get out,’ for various reasons. We’re seeing a lack of consequences,” Outlaw said.

18th District Commander Capt. Matt Gillespie says guns are at the root of the trouble in his district, where he says 99% of people want to go to work and return home safely each day.

“No longer fists, no longer one shooter, multiple shooters, multiple firearms, multiple rounds being fired. It’s scary out here for the people that live here, the officers, the commanders, everybody,” Gillespie said.

Outlaw also said arrests of narcotic sellers and for firearm violations are up in targeted areas.

Still, six people were killed in Philadelphia on Monday and those Eyewitness News talked to say that’s their harsh reality.