PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As of Wednesday afternoon, about 1,300 people have been shot in Philadelphia this year, and 311 killed, including two teenagers Wednesday afternoon in West Philadelphia. Those totals for 2021 are the highest in the city's history at this point in the year.
These latest statistics came from city leaders during their bi-weekly press conference on the gun violence crisis.
KYW Newsradio crime and justice reporter Kristen Johanson asked Mayor Jim Kenney about the administration’s strategy for stopping the bloodshed.
Johanson: "What is something this city can do right now? Because a lot of neighbors and people I have spoken to just feel like there is nothing being done differently, that their kids can’t even be outside to play."
Kenney: "What I would wish for is for people to give us names of folks who are involved in this thing, privately, so that we can get a head start in these investigations.
"I mean, you have these multiple shootings at social events, and no one cooperates, or very few people cooperate. That cooperation, privately, anonymously, would be a big help to us in going after these guys."
Johanson: "Would you consider maybe bringing in some outside resources, since we do see that in the Pinpoint grids, there’s a lot of police officers out there and that seems to have a reduction in violence?"
Kenney: "Would you give me a suggestion of outside help?"
Johanson: "This was suggested to me just two days ago. They said the National Guard, but you know, having extra bodies somewhere to deter the violence. That was suggested to me by a ward leader."
Kenney: "I am not prone to put the National Guard on the streets. We do coordinate with the FBI, the ATF, with our federal partners and our state attorney general and with their folks on the Gun Task force."
Johanson: "You were elected mayor. You ran for re-election. Have you brought everyone to the table, including the district attorney, to sit down and talk about what you can do to stem this, because people in the neighborhoods feel there is no cohesiveness between the leaders?:
Kenney: "Well, there is cohesiveness between the leaders, and I know that our criminal justice partners meet regularly with the district attorney to have those conversations."
Johanson: "You were talking about how you need the entire city to come together. Have you guys had those meetings with the district attorney, with City Council all coming to the table and figuring out how to stem this, right now?"
Kenney: "Well, I meet with City Council leadership every week. We have conversations about the pandemic, about all subject matter. I am available. Every single council person has my cell phone number anytime they want to call me, I am available, which I pick up myself. I am as available as I can be."
The mayor has said there is "no greater priority for [the] administration than reducing violence and saving lives."
He also said he will not call for an emergency declaration like New York City has done, because the city already has the extra funding that would come from such a declaration, and it would induce panic through the region.