PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Eyewitness News has learned that the Philadelphia Police Department is making changes as the city battles a surge in gun violence.
You know the headlines well -- two people shot in that section of the city, three people hit in another city, usually followed by no weapon recovered and no arrest. Now, Philadelphia police are getting serious, creating a unit devoted to trying to dissolve non-fatal shootings.
With the number of people shot in Philadelphia approaching 2,200 for the year, Eyewitness News has learned police officials are close to announcing the launch of a new non-fatal shooting unit.
Sources confirm exclusively to Eyewitness News 40 detectives will staff the unit, working collaboratively with detectives in the department's homicide division to slash the number of shootings.
Officially, Sgt. Eric Gripp told Eyewitness News, "It (Non-Fatal Shooting Unit) is still in the planning stages -- along with many other initiatives, and it's entirely too early to discuss at this time."
It's unclear when the unit will go live, but sources say it will be a significant allocation of resources at a time when shootings and homicides have spiraled into record territory.
Detectives would work out of the department's new headquarters at Broad and Callowhill Streets.
Sources in the PPD are hopeful the unit will reduce shootings.
At his weekly briefing, District Attorney Larry Krasner was blunt, saying witnesses to shootings have to cooperate with investigators, an element he explains is driving, at this point, a dismal solve rate.
"We need the help of the public, the solve rate for shootings at this time is around 17%," Krasner said. "We can't have a city where 83% of shooters are getting away with those shootings. We need to help with the public. We need them to come forward and we need you to understand that our office and the police will do everything in our power to protect you, to make sure that you are not in danger."
While the Philadelphia Police Department did not want to talk to CBS3 on camera, they did indicate through sources that this has not been a well-kept secret at all, and across the department, it's common knowledge that this unit will be rolling out in a short time. It will even have its own commander.
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.
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