By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City leaders say violent crime in Philadelphia is leveling off despite some high-profile homicides. Some of those notable cases have resulted in arrests, which authorities say are on the rise.

The Wednesday update on anti-violence efforts came as the city’s number of homicides sits at 374, a 17% increase from this time in 2020. That number doesn’t include the death of a 15-year-old who was fatally shot in North Philadelphia Monday.

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Officials said arrests are up for those using illegal guns, called “ghost guns.”

These are all signs of progress, they said, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said crimes can’t go unpunished – especially those against children.

“These are kids with their entire lives in front of them,” she said, adding, “And our children shouldn’t be experiencing the continued and sustained trauma.”

The city said their newly-formed citizen oversight commission can help improve struggling relations between the community and their police force.

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Councilman Curtis Jones is a fierce advocate for the commission, saying in part, “What’s important is that this commissioner be viewed as fair to all citizens in Philly and that the process be understandable and transparent.”

The nine-person board will oversee the more than 6,000 uniformed officers in Philadelphia. The members must be residents and be five years removed from any law enforcement or FOP membership.

Mayor Jim Kenney believes the citizen-run commission will have a positive impact on law enforcement policies.

“CPOC will work to improve police conducts, enhance the quality of internal investigations, increase communications and engagement between community and departments.”

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Applications for the commission will be available by the end of September.