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What Philadelphia needs from next mayor Cherelle Parker, police commissioner Kevin Bethel

Philadelphians inspired by Mayor Cherelle Parker after inauguration speech
Philadelphians inspired by Mayor Cherelle Parker after inauguration speech 02:30

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's plenty of hope to be had in Philadelphia as we enter a new year, hope for changes for the city. But what will those changes look like as Cherelle Parker takes over as Philadelphia's next mayor?

WATCH LIVE at 10 a.m.: Cherelle Parker to be sworn in as Philadelphia's 100th mayor

Many residents already know what they want: to feel safer.

"There are too many killings going on in the city, and we are hoping for a better city, that's all," resident Norma Lee said.

"I just hope we get the crime under control, the shootings, and get rid of the guns," Rittenhouse Square resident Ellen Berman Lee added.

Data shows there were at least 409 homicides in Philadelphia in 2023, a drop of over 20% from 2022. But it was also the fourth straight year with over 400 killings.

What does Philadelphia expect from Cherelle Parker and Kevin Bethel? 06:21

Parker's pick for the city's next police commissioner is Kevin Bethel, a Philadelphia police veteran who most recently was the chief of school safety for the School District of Philadelphia.

RELATED: Who is Kevin Bethel? What you need to know about Philadelphia's next police commissioner

Pastor Carl Day, who serves on the victims subcommittee of the Philadelphia Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said engaging the community will be key for both the next mayor and for Bethel.

"It's going to be a really important 90 days," Day said. "I'd like to see both Mayor Parker and Commissioner Bethel having a game plan to really immerse themselves. To come into each community and really build specifically with those community-based organizations and leaders."

At 3 p.m. after her formal swearing-in, Parker plans to declare a public safety emergency in the city and direct Bethel and the city managing director's office to develop comprehensive plans to address public safety across the city.

What are Philadelphians expecting from Cherelle Parker's administration? 01:50

Day hopes Bethel's history in the community will help in the new role.

"Being from Philly does help and having an extensive background with police, what helps even more is his balance that he brings, he's coming straight out of a space and an arena where he's working exclusively with young people," Day said. "There's a difference between understanding the demographic in the context of what's going on in the community and the history of the community."

Parker's administration has already been presented with the "Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia," a document developed after an all-day crime summit at St. Joseph's University last fall. But Parker's not adopting that wholesale; her administration is taking pieces of that and putting them into an action plan.

ALSO SEE: What is in the Blueprint for a Safer Philadelphia presented to Mayor Cherelle Parker?

The city has already made historic investments toward gun violence prevention and another $250 million investment is expected this year. The Kenney administration said those investments helped as homicides and shooting incidents declined.

Residents say reaching young people will be key in driving down violence in the city even further.

"Maybe she can do better than the males can," North Philadelphia resident Allen Bryant said. "Maybe she can help with this crime, get these kids off these streets, get them in after-school programs so they won't be doing the stuff that they do."

"We got to come together as a community to fix our city," Bryant added.

Day says doubling down on investments in community organizations will also play a role, both in reaching young people and driving down violence.

"It's important to transform the lives of the 18-25-year-olds, because they are the most influential to those who are teenagers and pre-teens if we can go ahead and if we can continue to invest in those young men, those young boys who look up to them will also want to change," Day said. "Those people who are looked at as the perpetrators, they then become those who protect and preserve communities."

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