PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Summer is historically the busiest season for violent crime across the city, but the Philadelphia Police Department says they have taken some necessary steps to keep the streets as safe as possible.
Deputy Commissioner Joel Dales says a plan of action has been put into place, including a public safety campaign partnering with the Pennsylvania State Police.
“We have been planning for this,” Dales said. “We will be utilizing all resources available to cover down across the city, especially during the major events.”
Operation Trigger Lock pairs city patrol officers with state troopers in various locations throughout the city, paying particular attention to the city’s so-called “hot spots” for crime.
“We will work with the State Police who will assist us covering the most violent areas across the city,” Dales added. “We also will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners as well.”
Getting more guns off the streets remains a priority. So far this year, police say they have taken 2,780 guns involved in crimes, slightly behind the pace of last year’s total of 5,907 guns seized throughout the year.
Homicides in Philadelphia are trending downward according to police, with 243 homicides through June 19 in comparison to 257 in 2021. Police also say they have solved 46% of homicides so far this year, compared to 42% throughout 2020 and 2021.
However, shootings are up in 2022, with 1,068 through June 19 compared to 992 at that time last year.
Officials pointed to a case where a 77-year-old man was shot in the head at point-blank range while taking a walk in Northeast Philadelphia on L Street Monday morning.
“Someone as inhuman as that should not have access to a gun. Ever,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “What type of person would do that to another human being? I just don’t understand how you police that.”
Another way the city is looking to stem gun violence this summer is by enforcing a curfew which right now calls for juveniles to be off the street by midnight. City Council is set to vote this week on changing the time to 10:00 p.m. Either way, Dales says a curfew is an effective tool.
“It’s very helpful to save the lives of our juveniles. If you look at the victims and the offenders, they’re juveniles,” said Dales.
He added that in one part of the city where it's being fully enforced, there has been a decrease in shootings pertaining to juveniles.