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Philadelphia leaders have a new blueprint plan in the ongoing effort to reduce gun violence in the city.
The Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia offers140 recommendations that came out of a summit held in September. Councilmember Curtis Jones said the goal is to take the ideas, find the best ones, and then fund them.
Among the tops on his list is work to cut down on straw purchases of firearms, where someone who is legally able to buy a weapon turns around and sells that gun to someone not allowed to purchase one.
He talked about the wide selection of weapons available during a recent trip to a gun show.
“If you ever saw the movie ‘Jaws,’ we took a step back and said, ‘We’re going to need a bigger boat,’” Jones said. “It was the most guns we have ever seen, and they were taking them out into the parking lot and reselling them.”
Jones pointed out that services and help need to be targeted to certain areas or the violence will continue.
“They’re 48 ZIP codes in the city of Philadelphia. In 19 of them, they produced 90% of the inmates [in prison] on State Road.”
Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker said the ideas produced in the blueprint will all be considered.
“We know we can use this to develop our action plan,” she said. Parker said she heard from people calling for change from all over the city during her campaign.
“Traveling to neighborhoods across the city, never changing the message based on the race, class, socio-economic status, ZIP code, religion, or any other measure that has been used in the past to divide us, with the message that said, if you would give me the opportunity, I would work in an intergovernmental collaborative way.”
District Attorney Larry Krasner said the city’s murder rate is significantly down this year.
“We hit 400 homicides, but we are looking at 102 fewer homicides than last year, something like 130 fewer homicides than the year before,” he said. “We are looking at the largest reduction in homicides that I can see in at least the last 15 years in the city of Philadelphia.”
Krasner added that finding positive solutions to the problem is the way to go.
State Representative Morgan Cephas spoke about the possibility of finding more money on the state level to help the city install new programs and solutions.
“I was actually on a conference call with our lieutenant governor and the secretary of legislative affairs with the Philadelphia delegation and we talked about the upcoming budget season and one of our top priorities as you can imagine is public safety in the city of Philadelphia, and they asked us one question. ‘Does Philly have a plan?’”
Cephas responded by explaining the blueprint and how with proper funding the city can continue to work to make safety a priority.
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