The most pressing issue facing our city is the threat of gun violence and a general fear that Philadelphia is not safe. In 2022 alone, there were over 2,200 shootings, where 74% of the victims and shooters were Black men. A Green Administration will create the first ever Gun Violence Suppression Division by fundamentally shifting resources within the Police Department. The Gun Violence Suppression Division will consist of prosecutors and both City and federal agents to reduce homicides by 25% in year one of the administration. This Division will be empowered to circumvent the District Attorney’s Office to process cases through a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and federal authorities. The new Police Chief will appoint a proven top deputy to stand up and lead the new Division that could scale up to as many as five hundred officers, state police and agents, including one hundred Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) detectives, that will be focused on working in the police districts where 90% of the gun violence happens. With the use of state and city funds, a Green Administration will invest $50 million into the new Division in order to reimburse the federal government for the 100 prosecutors and agents who serve in the Division. Perpetrators of gun violence in our city will be looking at federal time. Gone will be the days when gun offenders are not afraid of the consequences of possessing and using illegal guns in our city.
All public safety initiatives will be centered around the principles of Presence, Accountability, Opportunity, and Investment to ensure that the average of 500 homicides per year is never seen again. A Green Administration is committed to preserving the rights of citizens while moving aggressively to get illegal guns off the streets.
Guiding Principles & Initiatives
To Address Gun Violence + Public Safety Concerns Generally
- The Gun Violence Suppression Division will receive $50 million annually for the purposes of funding a five-year program centered on reimbursing the State and federal government to assign more prosecutors to the unit and for equipment to tackle this expanded approach to reduce gun violence.
- Hundreds of PPD officers, state police and federal agents will comprise the Division, in addition to more than 100 State and federal prosecutors.
- There will be a national search for a proven leader–with a demonstrated record–to replace the current Police Commissioner. The current police administration has simply not gotten the job done. Violent crime, combined with pitifully low clearance rates for shooting and homicides, make a shake-up in the police department leadership a critical necessity. It is time for new leadership, under a new police commissioner who shares a Green Administration’s vision and commitment to get tougher on illegal guns.
- The new commissioner will be responsible for hiring a deputy who will oversee the newly formed Gun Violence Suppression Division.
- Apppoint 1,000 new police officers to ensure PPD is operating at its full capacity of 6,400. PPD’s budget already funds an adequate number of officers.
- Promote 100 new detectives, so that 100 experienced detectives can be assigned exclusively to the Gun Violence Suppression Division to help raise abysmally low clearance rates for shootings and homicides.
- Assign hundreds of experienced officers and detectives during the first two years of implementation to the Gun Violence Suppression Division to work with federal partners to track down illegal guns and arrest those who possess and use illegal guns in our city.
- In order to hire top talent at PPD that reflects Philadelphia, a Green Administration will implement hiring bonuses and coordinate aggressive recruitment of candidates from local colleges and Historically Black Colleges & Universities.
- It requires creative solutions in order to attract top-tier recruits to work in a difficult and demanding environment.
- There will be creative and diverse engagement campaigns–led by the Mayor’s Office–to attract potential recruits, the way the Armed Forces has done to evolve their public image (e.g., “Be All You Can Be).
- A Green Administration will look to require community service hours for all officers in the communities they serve.
- Officers need to be a member of the community they serve and that begins by being present outside of their patrol.
- Enhanced training will be issued to new recruits and existing officers to increase trust in the community and strike a balance between better public safety and abiding by local laws (e.g., Driving Equity Law).
- The overwhelming majority of gun violence cases remain unsolved–a Green Administration will be committed to closing every single one of them.
- From the leadership of the Mayor’s Office, increased accountability and an investment in the Gun Violence Suppression Division will address the perpetually unresolved cases of gun violence.
- Through the Gun Violence Suppression Division, a Green Administration will work with our federal criminal justice partners to have more effective prosecution of those who are caught in the possession of illegal guns.
- The District Attorney has not made the prosecution of gun offenders a top priority. A Green Administration will address this issue by establishing a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal authorities to process gun violence cases, instead of leaving gun prosecution only to the District Attorney’s Office.
- At the onset of a Green Administration, a new police commissioner will be appointed, who prioritizes accountability to the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve, a commitment to efficiency and effectiveness, and city-wide focused deterrence and geographic prosecution strategies.
- Geographic prosecution will be revitalized under a Green Administration. This initiative will entail working with the First Judicial District so that criminal judges hear the cases coming from the community. Police, prosecutors and judges need to be dealing with crime as it occurs in neighborhoods, so that they are well-versed with the patterns of crime in the community.
- Revitalize Focused Deterrence and expand “The Choice is Yours” programs from their size and scope under previous administrations to city-wide programs.
- There will be a call on labor, institutions, and the business community to play a bigger role in hiring both those who have gone through the criminal justice system and those who are experiencing poverty, which accounts for over 25% of Philadelphians.
- Develop a strategic partnership with the OneTen Initiative (oneten.org) founded by Philadelphia native and Merck Chairman Ken Frazier, which is working to upskill, hire, and promote people without four-year degrees into family-sustaining jobs.
- A Green Administration will make a deeper and strategic commitment to work with the Philadelphia Youth Network and its partners to expand the summer job program to 15,000 jobs so that the city’s youth are exposed to future careers.
- Expand programs and initiatives to help grow local small businesses. The best way to reduce gun violence is to give someone a job and small businesses are the best job creators. To grow and expand small businesses in Philadelphia, A Green Administration will:
- Launch the Philadelphia Public Financial Authority to help small businesses get access to credit so they can grow and hire more people.
- Expand the Best Value Procurement Initiative to all City departments and related agencies so small businesses have a better chance to earn City contracts.
- Reduce red tape, improve online resources, and expand work at the Commerce Department so that small businesses will have a true partner with the City that will enable them to grow and want to stay in Philadelphia.
- Using his experience and relationships as the National President of the Democratic Municipal Officials and as an Executive Board Member of the National League of Cities, a Green Administration is committed to bringing millions of dollars from the federal bipartisan infrastructure law to Philadelphia. Under this law, $110 billion in federal dollars will be available for roads, bridges, and major transportation projects. With this new federal funding, local capital dollars can be reallocated to various smart technology investments like cameras and street lighting to enhance public safety in Philadelphia.
- A Green Administration will enhance the work of community-based, anti-violence organizations by enabling them to receive technical assistance from local institutions while maintaining oversight of these groups (e.g., a contract administration system similar to City funded housing counseling agencies) to make sure they are reducing crime in our city.
- Rebuild the network of after school and after care programs, lost in the absence of “Philadelphia Safe and Sound.”
- Building up the infrastructure of behavioral and mental health services to help citizens most impacted by gun violence in Philadelphia. By partnering with organizations like the Coalition of Culturally Competent Providers, citizens who are most impacted by trauma can receive services to break the cycle of violence in our city.