Philadelphia Mayor John Street last night took to the airwaves to assure residents, and those who visit or commute to work in Philadelphia, that the city was aggressively combating the continuing surge in violent crime, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. He gave a live, televised speech two hours after a quadruple shooting near an elementary school left a 17-year-old dead – the second killing of the day – and three other young people with serious wounds. Midway through his nearly nine-minute address, he pleaded to the city’s youth: “You are the future of this city. Lay down your weapons. Do it now.” Street also he urged Philadelphians to resist the “stop snitchin’ ” mentality that has dissuaded people from cooperating with police investigations.
He announced a new TV and radio campaign to get residents more involved with community groups such as Town Watch. Despite calls to expand the police force, Street told reporters, “We believe we have the right number of police officers.” While the department has shrunk by 600 officers since 2000, Street downplayed the impact, saying that because of reassignments, the number of police on streets has not decreased. “Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to fight crime,” he said. “But the village can never be a substitute for responsible parents.”