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Philadelphia Police Department to increase officers on the streets Friday, Saturday nights

Philadelphia Police Department to increase officers on the streets Friday, Saturday nights
Philadelphia Police Department to increase officers on the streets Friday, Saturday nights 02:05

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – You might see more police officers out if you're walking or driving around Philadelphia during the weekends now. 

On Friday afternoon, Deputy Commissioner John Stanford announced the department will increase the number of officers on patrol during Friday and Saturday nights.

"A significant contingent of officers, they will traverse throughout the city, obviously with the idea in mind of crime-fighting," Stanford said. 

The move is part of Mayor Cherelle Parker's plan to fight crime in the city. Police didn't release details on how many additional officers would be on the street, or where they would be located. But Stanford said these units will have areas of focus.

Breaking down new Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker's strategy 03:13

"Hitting those hot spots that we know we have violent crime, those hot spots where we know we have continuous ongoing crime --  that's going to be their primary focus," Stanford said. 

But officials said they also want these units to be able to deploy anywhere they're needed in the city, and they won't just be focusing on violent crime. Police leadership said officers may be called to large pop-up gatherings or instances of retail crime, cited as a rising problem in the city.

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"It's not a shooting. It's not a murder, but that's a crime that's having a great impact on this city," Stanford said. "So for us, crime is crime and we're going to address all crime."

According to police, the increase is also meant to bring some peace of mind to officers who are already out on patrol, letting them know they have additional backup if they need it.

"It gives you a sense of comfort knowing there are additional officers that are out on the street, that in the event that you come across something or you need additional help, those officers are available," Stanford said.

Police officials noted the staffing challenges the department has faced, but also said the weekend increase plan won't impact any normal patrol schedules. That's because, they said, they're using officers who are not normally on the streets.

"Some administrative units, some support service type of units or tactical support units, they'll be coming from those other areas that are not patrol," Stanford said. 

However, some Philadelphians who spoke with CBS News Philadelphia after Friday's announcement weren't totally sold on the plan. 

Maurice Johnson of West Philly said it had "pros and cons."

"Seeing more police, a show of force, will incline people to not do as much [crime]. Got more people out on the street doing more good, that's also good," Johnson said. "I think as long as we enforce stricter guidelines for our officers, have more checks and balances for them, then it can ultimately lead to a safer city."

Point Breeze resident Liam Giberson said he could see sending officers when a problem comes up, but didn't like the idea of more officers simply being out on the street.

"I worry about the marginalized communities in our city, and I fear that an increased police presence could lead to more violence and conflict between those groups," Giberson said.

Philadelphia businesses glad to have more police coverage on weekend nights 01:53
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