September 04, 2021
The Philadelphia Police Department is bolstering its police presence through Labor Day weekend in the city in an effort to decrease gun violence on the historically crime-ridden weekend in the city.
Last year, 19 people were shot over Labor Day weekend, between Saturday and Monday afternoon.
Deputy Police Commissioner Joel Dales said extra officers are being called in on their days off and others are getting extended hours to offset the patrols required for the Made in America festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Metro Philly reported.
“We will be monitoring pop-up block parties, block parties that were not approved for a permit,” Dales said. “We will be monitoring house parties, these Airbnb parties. So we’re going to be pretty busy all weekend.”
Plainclothes and uniformed police officers will be at the Made in America festival, which runs Sept. 4-5 and is expected to draw thousands, and on surrounding blocks. There will also be helicopters monitoring the event from the skies.
While city's homicide and shooting numbers have been declining over the past few weeks, more than 1,500 people have been shot in the city this year so far. That marks a 15% increase from last year's numbers to date.
So far, 358 homicides have been reported in the city, up 16% from last year's high rate.
In the last four weeks though, shootings decreased by 23% and there were five fewer homicides, which Dales said could be in response to the increased community involvement in West Philadelphia.
More victims and witnesses were providing information to law enforcement as well.
“If we keep this up, I’m sure these numbers will continue to go down,” Dales said.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the department is moving patrols from recreation centers to schools in the city, now that school is back in session.
“Officers will still be making periodic checks at rec centers, and any rec centers where issues have been identified will see an increase in officers patrolling around these centers,” Outlaw said.