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Lawmakers hold emergency meeting on Philadelphia gun violence

Philadelphia officials hold emergency meeting on gun violence
Philadelphia officials hold emergency meeting on gun violence 02:21

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- City lawmakers are continuing the push to curb gun violence in Philadelphia. 

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson called an emergency meeting at City Hall Wednesday to bring together the key players in this fight.

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Philadelphia police, District Attorney Larry Krasner, lawmakers and more are looking to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing our city – gun violence. 


Johnson called the hearing to find out how all these agencies can work together. 

"We're in a state of crisis, we're in a state of emergency, around the issue of gun violence. And the only way we're going to solve it is having everyone at the table," Johnson said.  

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The first step involves stopping gun violence that's happening now – and Philadelphia police believe they're making headway. Police numbers show 227 homicides so far this year – down 21% year to date. Deputy Commissioner John Stanford says they've seen numbers fall since last year when police identified areas where the most violence was happening. 


"The first class that was graduating in December, Academy Class about 35 officers, we deployed them to those four core districts. The next class that came out in March, we did the same thing," Stanford said.  

Krasner made his pitch for a state-of-the-art forensics lab. He says it will help police solve cases faster – and deter future criminals. 

"You ever try to get a fingerprint in the city of Philadelphia? Well, good luck, because you're going to be waiting a long time. This makes no sense. You want people to stop shooting? Let them know they'll get caught," Krasner said. 

But officials say they need to work to prevent violence in the future as well. 

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Chief Public Defender Keisha Hudson says her office is uniquely positioned to understand how criminals end up where they are. 

"We have a client within 750 feet of 10 shootings last year. And our clients who are seeing and experiencing really deep trauma need the community to wrap their arms around them, but those communities need deep investments," Hudson said.

The community aspect is key. Leaders discussed disinvestments in Black and Brown communities. 

Krasner also pointed to what other cities have done to cut crime and says Philly should take note. 

"It has been a heavy investment in community-based organizations that are constructive, that are anti-crime, that are pro-youth, and that are disconnected from law enforcement," Krasner said.  

Click here for a Philadelphia Gun Violence Resource List.

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