Mayor Nutter, city officials announce new crime fighting measures
Mayor Michael A. Nutter along with District Attorney Seth Williams and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey unveiled the City's new crime fighting measures focusing on prevention, intervention and collaboration at Strawberry Mansion High School. This strategy will link police, neighborhoods and our public and private law enforcement partners to reduce violence.
"Working with our local, state and federal partners and after months of study, we have put together a series of tough measures to reduce violent crime in Philadelphia. We're going after the criminals who carry illegal guns and we're empowering citizens to help the police identify these domestic terrorists," said Mayor Nutter. "We're offering large cash rewards, using technology in new ways in the fight against crime and immediately putting more police on the streets using overtime funds."
At the announcement, Mayor Nutter and city officials outlined a series of new, specific crime fighting measures:
1. Enforcement of Sections 6106 and 6108 of Title 18. Pennsylvania's Crime Code has strict illegal gun regulations (6106, 6108). District Attorney Seth Williams will work with the courts to ensure that individuals caught possessing illegal guns are prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which could mean a jail sentence of up to seven years.
"I have been shocked and saddened by the violent and truly senseless crimes that have taken place over the past few weeks," said District Attorney Seth Williams. "As a proud Philadelphian, I am going to make sure that the actions of a few low-lifes don't create a permanent black eye for the many hard working law abiding citizens here. Know this: The police will find you and when they do I will be throwing the book at you. I look forward to working with both the Mayor and Commissioner Ramsey in trying to make our streets safer, and I urge all Philadelphians to step up and be a part of the solution."
2. Use of incentives to increase arrests and convictions. The Police Department will use a new, systematic approach to cash rewards as an incentive to build cases.
The City of Philadelphiawill offer up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone in a homicide case.
The City of Philadelphia will offer a $500 reward for tips leading to the arrest and conviction of a person carrying an illegal gun.
3. Increase the lines of communication between citizens and the Philadelphia Police Department. In order to elicit tips from the public to assist the police, new, technology based measures will begin to complement existing crime reporting methods. However, contacting 9-1-1 is always the most effective way to report a crime.
Modeled after effective programs in Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Baltimore and Los Angeles, the City is launching a program that will allow citizens to anonymously send text message tips directly to the police department using a vanity code.
In addition, citizens will be able to e-mail tips, photos and videos directly to the police department. This program is currently available. E-mails should be sent to email@example.com.
Soon, the faces of Philadelphia's most wanted criminals will air on Channel 64,will be tweeted and facebooked to increase tips to the police in support of efforts to apprehend these criminals.
"The City is taking very important steps today to bring the Philadelphia Police Department closer to the community," said Commissioner Ramsey. "We cannot do it alone, however. If we want to interrupt the cycle of violence that is plaguing some of our communities, then we must all play a part in helping to prevent and solve crime."
4. Increase funding to the Victim/Witness Assistance Program. Effective immediately, the City will double the funding for the Witness Assistance Program, which works with the District Attorney's office to protect citizens who come forward as witnesses to a crime. Funding will rise from $200,000 to $400,000.
5. Launch of a new video surveillance program. The City will launch a new program that will provide citizens and businesses with financial support to install exterior surveillance video cameras to observe public spaces. Specifications on this program will be released soon.
6. Launch of Gun Stat program. Commissioner Ramsey and District Attorney Williams will co-chair the Gun Stat program, a collaborative effort to reduce gun violence using data-based tracking of gun violence, focusing on targeted high violence areas.
Gun Stat is an enhancement to the crime analysis work the Police Department is already using. It is designed after the Crime Briefings strategy from 2008. It will focus on identifying violent offenders, gun crimes, arrests and results through the court system. It will facilitate better tracking of persons on probation or parole.
Criminal justice, law enforcement and community partners, including Probation, Parole and Prisons, will assist in the Gun Stat program.
7. Re-launch of Operation Pressure Point initiative as Pressure Point 2.0. Pressure Point 2.0 will re-launch in April 2012 and run though October 2012 as a multi-agency law enforcement and crime reduction initiative lead by the Philadelphia Police Department.
Pressure Point 2.0 leverages the resources of different law enforcement and criminal justice organizations at the local, state and federal level. Through coordinated intelligence efforts and targeted deployment strategies to reduce violent crime in high crime areas.
Participating agencies include: Philadelphia Police Department, United States Marshals, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Warrant Unit, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program, Philadelphia Juvenile Probation Department, City of Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
8. Anti-violence initiatives with community organizations through the Mayor's Engaging Communities Dialogue. Community organizations partner and/or fund anti-violence initiatives across the City. In order to improve coordination between these organizations and the City of Philadelphia, a meeting called the Mayor's Engaging Communities Dialogue will be held in March 2012.
"Our goal is to create an RFP process that will help us to determine which groups to fund. We need more for each dollar we spend and this process is going to help us get there," said Mayor Nutter.
9. Increase police presence. In order to combat rising violence, the immediate authorization of additional overtime for police officers has been approved by Mayor Nutter for use in high-crime areas. In addition, a new cadet police class of up to 100 will enter the police academy in June 2012.
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