• Philadelphia

    South Philadelphia's Focused Deterrence strategy has shown promising early results. The city's implementation has been so successful that the National Network is highlighting its street outreach and street enforcement systems as a model for other cities.


South Philadelphia is conducting a pilot implementation of focused deterrence in one of its six geographic divisions based on advising workshops it received from the National Network. The division has used call-ins combined with strategic street policing, as well as a unique outreach structure to offer help to group members who want to change. The National Network has recently highlighted South Philadelphia's innovative street policing tactics, and the practitioners who developed it, in several workshops, including an upcoming conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. 

South Philadelphia's efforts have shown encouraging results: the division has seen a 25 percent initial reduction in homicide and a major decline in street activity.

Below is a May 16, 2013 "call-in" meeting of the Philadelphia Focused Deterrence initiative, at which Philadelphia community members, law enforcement, and social service providers join together and use the National Network for Safe Communities' method of communicating directly with active gang and street group members.

News & Updates

Americans Don’t Really Understand Gun Violence

December 2017  |  The Atlantic  

Some police departments do carefully track shootings, but most keep that data internal. In New York City, for example, police track nonfatal shootings rigorously, Aborn said, starting from when victims walk into an emergency room with a gunshot wound. “We really like to unpack shootings,” he said. “It’s almost an epidemiology approach: understanding what’s causing the disease. Without that data, it’s very hard to do that kind of analysis.”

But other cities can’t tell you how many people are shot in their own jurisdictions, said David Kennedy, the director of the National Network for Safe Communities at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. That includes many of the biggest cities in the country. When the Major Cities Chiefs Association routinely surveys its members for violent-crime data, only 40 of its 69 member agencies are usually able to provide the number of nonfatal shootings. And when The Baltimore Sun tried last year to compare lethality rates for shootings, it found that only half of the country’s 30 biggest cities even keep that data.

Tags: New York City Philadelphia Group Violence Intervention

What Bullets Do to Bodies

April 2017  |  The Huffington Post  

"We are inundated with news about shootings. Fourteen dead in San Bernardino, six in Michigan, 11 over one weekend in Chicago. We get names, places, anguished Facebook posts, wonky articles full of statistics on crime rates and risk, Twitter arguments about the Second Amendment—everything except the blood, the pictures of bodies torn by bullets. That part is concealed, sanitized. More than 30,000 people die of gunshot wounds each year in America, around 75,000 more are injured, and we have no visceral sense of what physically happens inside a person when he’s shot."

Tags: Philadelphia

City to expand successful violence-reduction strategy beyond South Philadelphia

October 2016  |  The Philly Voice  

"During his campaign, mayoral candidate Jim Kenney repeatedly called to expand Focused Deterrence, a violence intervention strategy that contributed to a dramatic decrease in shootings and homicides following its 2013 implementation in South Philadelphia."

Tags: Philadelphia Group Violence Intervention

When a Life Sentence Starts at 15

June 2016  |  New York Times  

"Philadelphia district attorney, Seth Williams, announced last week that his office would seek new sentences for all of the 300 or so prisoners who have been serving sentences of mandatory life without parole for homicides they committed as juveniles."New York Times

Tags: Philadelphia Institute for Innovation in Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

The end of life without parole for juveniles in Philadelphia?

June 2016  |  Philly.com  

Philadelphia DA and IIP board member Seth Williams is leading the way in juvenile sentencing reform. 

Tags: Philadelphia Institute for Innovation in Prosecution Strategic Prosecution

Philadelphia District Attorney creates new pre-trial felony diversion pilot program with CCP: Future

December 2015  |  Philadelphia Sun  

"Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams this week launched a new pre-trial felony diversion pilot program called Future Forward to provide individuals who have been charged with a non-violent felony crime an alternative to incarceration. The program, which is the first of its kind in the nation and the creation of the District Attorney himself, is designed to increase access to educational opportunities and reduce recidivism."

Tags: Philadelphia Institute for Innovation in Prosecution Strategic Prosecution Support and Outreach

International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference 2014

October 2014  |  National Network   

At the International Association of Chief of Police Conference in Orlando this year, the National Network conducted panels on custom notifications and street level enforcement with our partners from Chicago, Philadelphia, and High Point. And in his opening address, Attorney General Eric Holder reiterated the importance of the new National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice in repairing relationships between minority communities and the criminal justice system: “We do ourselves a disservice if we dismiss, or fail to address, the conditions and lingering tensions that exist just beneath the surface in so many places across the country – and that were brought to the surface, and raised to the urgent attention of this group and others, by this summer’s events in Ferguson, Missouri."

Tags: Chicago High Point Philadelphia National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice Group Violence Intervention Custom Notifications

David Kennedy Speaks at Mothers in Charge 2nd Annual Cost of Violence Conference

May 2014  |  GunCrisis  

Tags: Philadelphia Group Violence Intervention

Letters: The Guv & Guns: A Life-saving idea

March 2014  |  Philadelphia Daily News  

An op-ed asks: would the State of Pennsylvania stand behind a strategy that has shown that violence can be dramatically reduced when community members and law enforcement join together to directly engage violent street groups and clearly communicate a message against violence?

Tags: Philadelphia Group Violence Intervention