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Advocates discuss what next Philadelphia mayor should do to target gun violence

Mayoral primary: What do Philadelphians think needs to be done?
Mayoral primary: What do Philadelphians think needs to be done? 03:04

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pete Kane has been impacted by gun violence in Philadelphia more than most.

"I have lost six, seven, maybe a dozen of friends and family," Kane said.

Kane, a longtime photojournalist and North Philadelphia native, says gun violence has long ben a part of his life. 

But recently, things have gotten bad. At work, there were often times violence and family intersected.

"My best friend who I went fishing with, his grandson Donald Wesley Jr., was shot and killed three blocks from the shooting I had covered," Kane said. 

"By the time I got home, I found out my brother's step son was shot and killed within two blocks of the shooting I had covered," Kane said.

These are just a few of the hundreds of shootings Philadelphia has seen over the last few years.

With more than 500 homicides in 2021 and 2022, and more than 130 just four months through 2023, gun violence has shot to the top of the agenda in this year's mayoral race.

But beyond the campaign promises, we sought to find out what those on the front lines of this fight want to see out of the next mayor.

The Coalition to Save Lives was established in November 2022. It was formed by dozens of foundations, corporations, nonprofits, and other organizations, all searching for ways to reduce gun violence in the city. 

Estelle Richman, the former Pennsylvania secretary of Public Health, was chosen as its head.

"I wouldn't have stepped out of retirement if I didn't have an awful lot of confidence that we can begin the process of bending the curve," Richman, from the Philadelphia Foundation office in Center City, said. 

Richman says the coalition's goals are prevention and intervention, the latter being identifying who is most likely to do the shooting, and who is most likely to be shot. 

Their work would then send people into these communities to try to get those at-risk on the right track.

When asked about what the city's 100th mayor should be doing to combat gun violence, Richman noted the importance of both police and community intervention.

However, she says her biggest ask is that the next city leader continue to work with these organizations.

"We actually have in Philadelphia some pretty decent programs. I think we need a little more coordination. I think we need to make sure everyone understands the scope and the goals," Richman said.

As for Pete, he believes more officers on the ground and in communities getting to know families could make a big difference.

He also talked about the need for more programs for kids.

But what he really wants to see from the next mayor: someone who follows through on promises.

"They have to be held accountable. Stop making promises that are not kept," Kane said.

The mayoral primary is May 16.  

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