For summer, Philly police look to strategies focusing on community engagement, deployment, intervention

Philadelphia police headquarters
Philadelphia police headquarters Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A little more than a month away from the start of summer, city officials offered a preview of their crime-fighting plans.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced on Monday that, as of that afternoon, homicides were down 14% citywide compared to one year ago — but there’s still work to be done.

“I can spout out numbers all day long. But if someone, a child, whomever — a mother, parent — still doesn't feel safe in allowing their young person to walk to the corner store or to go to school or go to play in a place that is supposed to be designed to be safe for them, it really means nothing,” Outlaw said.

The nicer weather and extra hours of sunshine mean more people will spend more time outside. Outlaw said resources have been realigned — a process that will continue into the summer.

Mayor Jim Kenney and top police officials spoke about how they plan to keep an eye on crime.

“We believe that keeping children and youth engaged in dynamic summer experiences will help keep them safe and reduce community violence,” Kenney said.

Deputy Commissioner James Kelly said calls from recreation centers are an important part of their coverage and patrol. He also says officers on patrol will have to sign logs several times a day.

“We're prioritizing calls at the rec centers, so when staff at a rec center calls police, it gets bumped up in our priorities system and radio.”

Police officers will be present and engaged at events across the city like movie nights, block parties, and city recreation centers and pools. But Kelly said, some play areas won’t have an officer constantly there.

“We don't have enough resources to cover every pool. So we prioritize them, but every pool will get a lot of visible, rotating coverage, if they don't have a steady unit there.”

As for ATV and car meetups, Kelly said investigators could issue more tickets or make arrests for reckless endangerment or obstructing the highway, if needed.

City officials also say they will continue to implement a curfew for teens throughout the summer.

The mayor says it’s to keep them off the street and safe from overnight violence.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio