Philly P.D. selected for Justice Dept.’s National Public Safety Partnership

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw

File photo: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The Philadelphia Police Department has been selected to participate in the Department of Justice’s National Public Safety Partnership, city officials announced Wednesday.

As part of the partnership, the police department will receive intensive training and technical assistance from DOJ in the areas of gun violence prevention, criminal justice collaboration, community engagement, federal partnerships, and more, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a press conference.

“What this does is allow us to not only benchmark against other agencies of comparable size with comparable issues, but it also allows peer-to-peer engagement and allows for visits, exchanges, and allows us to hone in on some key areas that we know we need to strengthen,” Outlaw said.

“I’m hoping that we get some pretty strong technical assistance in the areas of streamlining forensics and evidence and using our evidence as intelligence to inform and help bring cases,” she said, “as opposed to … back in the day when our labs were solely used to prepare folks for court.”

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Philadelphia is seeing an uptick in shootings and homicides throughout the city: a 14% increase in homicides since last year and a 9% increase in shooting victims, according to the police department.

But violent crime, specifically within its “pinpoint grids,” is continuing to decrease, officials said during the press conference. Outlaw credited this to the department’s “Operation Pinpoint,” which identifies areas where violence has been concentrated and consistently deploys officers to those locations. In some of the pinpoint grids, she said, there are double-digit decreases in homicides, and six districts have seen double-digit decreases in non-fatal shootings.

“We still have a lot of work left to do, and we must continue to chip away at the violent crime that’s touching every single one of our communities,” she said. “We, despite reduced resources, continue to make a record number of gun confiscations and then arrests. As of today, we are 167 gun confiscations short of what we recovered just all of last year.

“We know that these grids are smaller parts of the city that’s driving the largest percentage of the crime. If we’re able to continue to sustain and increase the gains that we’re seeing in these pinpoint areas, ultimately what should happen is that citywide the numbers will go down. That’s what we’re working toward,” Outlaw added.

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