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Philadelphia Leaders 'Doubling Down' On Tackling City's Gun Violence Epidemic As Public Health Crisis

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia leaders on Wednesday unveiled an ambitious plan to get a handle on the city's growing gun violence crisis. Mayor Jim Kenney's biweekly gun violence briefing began Wednesday with a revised plan to combat rising violence in Philadelphia.

The "Roadmap for Safer Communities" plan, which was launched in 2019, will pivot resources to address the current gun violence crisis.

"We are doubling down on our commitment to tackling gun violence as a public health crisis," Kenney said.

The long-term strategy will target high crime areas and invest millions into crime prevention, community outreach, job creation and behavioral health to try to chip away at crime.

"We're looking at putting quality job opportunities and training designed for individuals who are at the highest risks of gun violence," Erica Atwood, the senior director for the city's Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice & Public Safety, said.

The revised roadmap plan will invest $1.3 million to expand violence prevention programs like Operation Pinpoint, which is used by police to target hot spot areas.

"It combines hotspot policing, problem-solving, community policing and offender focusing," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. "The data, along with our technology and experience, helps us pinpoint violent offenders."

To date, the city has seen 142 homicides with shootings up 43%.

Outlaw says crime in some of the pinpoint areas does seem to be down, but this multi-faceted approach will take some time to really put a dent in crime statistics.

"We know that if we achieve a 25% reduction over a period of three years that overall we're going to see a citywide reduction," Outlaw said.

Federal stimulus money allotted to the city will help to make the realignment of resources possible, a big boost for a city facing a huge loss in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

"Federal stimulus money is helping us get back to where we were, a revenue loss that we experienced in the last year. That gives us some breathing room," Kenney said.

The mayor says he will be proposing an $18.4 million investment into crime prevention in the upcoming budget proposal, over $1.4 billion over the course of five years.

For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.

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