Mayor Parker walks through Kensington, announces city’s settlement with ghost-gun makers

The settlement will halt in-store and online sales of ghost guns for four years. Parker also spoke of reducing homicides to pre-pandemic levels and stopping "car meets."

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Cherelle Parker walking down the street

Mayor Parker walks through Kensington as she marks the 100th day of her administration. (courtesy Pat Loeb/pool)

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Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker marked her first 100 days as mayor by touring the Kensington area, laying out her vision and announcing a settlement between the city and Polymer 80 and JSD Supplies, the primary makers of ghost guns.

The settlement agreement prohibits Polymer80 from ever advertising or selling ghost gun kits in Philadelphia. Additionally, the agreement prevents the company from marketing or selling kits in the surrounding counties for four years.

The city will also receive $1.3 Million in compensation over four years, which will be used for efforts to prevent and remediate the harms caused by the gun violence crisis.

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“I heard the number is about $1.3 million to fund efforts to address gun violence and efforts to get illegal guns off of our streets,” she said.

Parker, along with city officials, employees and security detail, took the Market Frankford El from City Hall to Kensington and Allegheny and walked through the Kensington Avenue Business District, where most businesses have shuttered. The team ended their tour at the Conwell school on Clearfield Street, where Parker swore in the police commissioner on her first day as mayor.

The Kensington Community Revival, or KCR as it’s being called, is among the chief priorities of the Parker administration. Parker has made it one of her key mandates to permanently shut down all “pervasive” open-air drug markets, including but not limited to those in the Kensington neighborhood. A map specifically targeting the area between Tioga Street to Indiana Avenue and E Street to Jasper was highlighted as the focus area for revival.

“The effort will not only be to stop drug sales but to stabilize the business corridor and the areas surrounding it, removing the presence of drug users and to eliminate Kensington as the narcotics destination of Philadelphia.”

During the tour, Parker laid out other goals including reducing citywide homicides and gun violence to pre-pandemic levels, with an aspiration to hit the historic lows of 2014.

The stopping of “car meets,” where drivers show off their cars and race through city streets, was also marked as a priority.

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Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel spoke at the two-hour long event and said better days are ahead for Philadelphians. He said there will be “community policing” and more enforcement in areas such as Kensington along with oversight to ensure that the police don’t infringe on civil liberties.

“In-car cameras will be added to most of our fleet, so for the first time we’ll have cameras in our cars, and the body-worn cameras will have sensors built into our handguns so when the guns are pulled the cameras will go off,” he said.

Bethel said prevention, intervention and enforcement is the key to a safe city, and he is planning to put more than 150 officers to walk the streets, with a goal of increasing that number to 300.

The commissioner added it was time to address “quality-of-life crimes,” such as ATVs on city streets. He said he will increase police presence on weekends.

City Commerce Director Alba Martinez said the city is determined to bring more small and big businesses into town by expanding the “Taking Care of Business” program.

Carlton Williams, head of the Clean and Green effort, said he will soon be establishing a Clean and Green Cabinet to break down the silos of government and bring everyone together to work on the city’s problems. A clean and green ticker has been launched to keep residents updated. The city plans on planting 15,000 trees over the next five years and employing specialized crews for the day after trash day to clean up neighborhoods, which city officials hope will prompt residents to work between cleanups.

City officials also addressed the housing crisis. Managing Director Adam Thiel said the city aims to go beyond housing the unhoused and has budgeted $100,000,000 for “triage centers,” designed to provide all-encompassing services for those in need. At least one of the facilities will be located in Kensington to support people out of tents and off the city streets.

The city is also launching a program called “One Front Door” for home improvement programs, including programs to support small landlords. There are also plans to create “affordable luxury homes” for renters and homeowners. A formal review of the city’s Land Bank will be done in order to find available properties to create these homes.

Mayor Parker ended the presentation by announcing that the sheriff’s sales will resume “very soon.” Those sales will provide more properties for rehabilitation and new construction.

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