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.
"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."
"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
Philadelphia DA and IIP board member Seth Williams is leading the way in juvenile sentencing reform.
"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."
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."
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?
From Chip Kelly to Focused Deterrence to the PAWS Instagram to the Zoo’s big cats, Philly had plenty to be proud of, too.