How Have Law Enforcement Initiatives Addressed Homicides in Philadelphia?


Quick Answer

As of 2015, Philadelphia is addressing the city's homicide rate through a series of ongoing initiatives that focus on targeting known offenders, improving community outreach and increasing accountability among police officers, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The result has been a sustained decrease in the number of homicides, which numbered 248 in 2014.

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One of the strategies used in Philadelphia is "focused deterrence," a program that has helped police identify key gang members in South Philadelphia, notes The Philadelphia Inquirer. Developed in Boston during the 1990s, focused deterrence has its roots in the principle that offenders are less likely to repeat criminal behavior if the costs of doing so outweigh the benefits, explains the U.S. Office of Justice Programs. The strategy targets repeat offenders and violent criminals, demonstrating to them that the consequences of criminal activity are swift, certain and very severe.

In addition to cracking down on repeat offenders, city leaders in Philadelphia have also put in place a number of community programs for at-risk youth, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. One such program, the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network, or PAAN, includes three separate initiatives aimed at preventing violent crime, the PAAN website reports. These include the Philadelphia Youth Violence Reduction Partnership, which aims to reduce homicides in young people between the ages of 14 and 24, and Intensive Prevention Services, which offers counseling and after-school programs for high-risk young people ages 10 to 17. A third program, Girls in Female Transition, focuses on helping teenage girls develop greater self-esteem and improve their performance in school.

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