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Philadelphia Officials Hold Emergency Hearing As City Wrestles With Extreme Rise In Gun Violence

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia is wrestling with sobering spikes in gun violence. As of Tuesday morning, 259 people have been murdered in Philadelphia this year, a 31% increase from this time last year.

Police have responded to 1,891 shooting incidents, a 55% increase from this time last year and at least 102 children have been shot.

On Tuesday, City Council held an emergency hearing about the extreme rise of gun violence.

"I'm glad that we're all here, but we have to think creatively about how we can never meet like this ever again," one woman said.

It was a collective show of frustration, emotion and urgency among city leaders trying to tackle rising gun violence in Philadelphia.

"We can not have anymore Zamar Joneses," said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Krasner was the first to address the City Council's Special Committee on Gun Violence and even got emotional during the hearing when talking about 7-year-old Zamar Jones, who was killed during gun crossfire in West Philadelphia.

As children continue to become the latest victims to get caught in the crossfire, communities are taking a stand against gun violence.

"It's not normal for a 6-year-old, 7-year-old child to be shot and children in a playground who are just out here trying to be kids," one man said.

Krasner says his office is pushing for higher bail on those linked to gun crimes.

"What my office is seeing is that bails are too low and often too low on cases that involve shootings, on cases involving felons in possession of firearms," he said.

On the heels of Krasner's testimony, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was peppered with questions about rising crime rates.

Graphics show the undeniable rise in homicides and shootings throughout the city.

"This year, however, our homicide and shooting victims are up 31% and 36% respectively," said Outlaw.  "Currently, the City of Philadelphia ranks No. 2 in total homicides across the country behind Chicago."

Commissioner Outlaw details the effects of budget cuts on the department, also saying she's had to redeploy officers out of certain neighborhoods and departments during the height of civil unrest and demonstrations throughout the city.

"We've had to make adjustments, we put administrative personnel -- we've redeployed them into hot spot areas," she said.

Outlaw continues to tout her 32-page crime prevention plan as a way to curb growing violence as well as establishing a task force in violence-plagued Southwest Philadelphia by using Operation Pinpoint to hone in on crime hot spots, and beefing up narcotics enforcement to combat drug-related shootings on the streets.

"We gotta go back to what we know works," Outlaw said.

Day two of testimony starts Wednesday where comments will come mostly from the general public about the issues and recommended solutions.

CBS3's Kimberly Davis and Natasha Brown contributed to this report.

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