Vast in scope, the report touches on topics including arrests, bail, sentencing, and the need for trauma services, victim assistance, and neighborhood investments. An executive summary included 35 recommendations, almost none of which came with concrete price tags or plans for implementation. [City Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr.] acknowledged in the report’s opening pages that the document was not designed to be a solution but rather to offer “a view of the same issue through a variety of different lenses.”
Although the agencies came together to work under one banner for the project — an effort dubbed the Philadelphia Interagency Research and Public Safety Collaborative — the report was divided into sections that in some instances showcased familiar disagreements.
The Police Department, for example, noted that the District Attorney’s Office has increasingly failed to win convictions for illegal gun possession, a crime police say must be addressed to curb gunfire in the city.
But prosecutors said there was “little research supporting the approach.” And they noted that one category of gun possession — carrying without a license — was a felony in Philadelphia but a misdemeanor in the rest of the state. They called that legislative decision “inequitable and obviously racist” and said they believe the Police Department’s focus on arresting people for that crime “is having no effect on the gun violence crisis.”
“We do not believe that arresting people and convicting them for illegal gun possession is a viable strategy to reduce shootings,” the DA’s Office wrote.