By Fox 29 News, January 1, 2018
PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - With the number of homicides in Philadelphia up 14 percent in 2017, police have created a new gun task force, which begins this year.
With over 300 murders and 1,200 shootings last year, there's no questions gun violence is a problem that needs to be addressed. Now, Philadelphia police are hoping a new gun violence task force could be part of the solution.
"We gotta get these guys that have guns and are inclined to use them off the street," Philadelphia Police Captain Sekou Kinebrew said.
The police are already using intelligence information to identify suspects, gang members and violent criminals. The district attorney and the courts are expected to join an initiative that will target illegal guns and criminals who use them.
"This gun task force will allow us to be laser like in our focus in targeting the most prolific offenders," Captain Kinebrew said.
The new task force will have detectives in each of the six divisions across the city. They will focus on gun arrests and the sale of illegal guns. Gun cases could be handled by a new gun court focused specifically on gun offenders.
"When you arrest someone for a gun, when someone is shot or commits a shooting, right away information is starting to be collected and disseminated so we know where then on the operations side to put the boots on the ground," Captain Kinebrew explained.
Those boots on the ground will include 370 new police officers by September of this year. Many of them will be deployed on bikes, the department's most effective anti-crime tool on the streets.
"The bike cops can get behind those alleys, driveways and things like that the officer in a vehicle can't get to," Kinebrew said.
Police are also hoping the gun task force will help solve more murder cases.