Mayor Nutter held a press conference at Strawberry Mansion High School and announced some new initiatives for fighting crime in Philadelphia.
Some of the initiatives revealed at last week’s conference include increasing the amount of award money for anyone who offers information in a homicide case and increasing the budget for witness protection. In addition, he also plans to implement an anonymous text tip line, as well as a crack down on gun legislation.
The neighborhood of Strawberry Mansion, which belongs to the 22nd Police District, is one of the most crime-plagued neighborhoods in North Philadelphia. The 22nd Police District has the largest number of homicides and shootings in the city. For the people of Strawberry Mansion, Nutter’s new initiatives may not be that efficient.
Tyrone Williams, the community liaison of the Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center, said peoples’ fear will still keep them from coming forward with information, even with the increased monetary incentive.
“Money can help, but they worry about who will see them talking to the police and the retaliation,” Williams said. “You have to dispel that fear. It’s not that people don’t want to do it; they don’t want to get hurt.”
Lenora Jackson, the executive director of the center, said money should be invested in other ways.
“Take that money and give people some training in the community. They don’t have any skills. Give them opportunities so they don’t fall victim to being involved in crime,” Jackson said.
Daniel O’Brien, the assistant managing director of PhillyRising Collaborative, said he sympathizes with the reactions of Williams and Jackson, but still believes Nutter’s initiatives to be a good thing.
“I understand skepticism, but I don’t think it can be anything but positive. To have the mayor take such a public, vocal stand shows the community the city government is in line with them,” O’Brien said.
Although Williams and Jackson may be skeptical about Nutter’s speech, they both said a community effort is also needed in fighting crime, and that’s what they are there for.