State Rep. Amen Brown calls for state of emergency in Philadelphia
State Rep. Amen Brown, D-Phila., has called for Mayor Jim Kenney to immediately convene the Emergency Management Council, along with leaders of Philadelphia City Council, for an emergency session on gun violence to be held at the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center with all state and federal partners.
"The mass shooting of this weekend, resulting in three deaths and 12 injured, is only the most recent incident in a year of record bloodshed," Brown said. "Philadelphians fear for their children going to school. Seniors are scared to ride SEPTA or even sit on their front porch. Violence is exploding and quality of life is quickly declining. Leaders need to lead. It's time to take real action to protect our youth, neighbors, family members and friends."
Brown stressed that addressing this violence is going to take a multi-effort approach, which includes addressing systemic issues by providing such resources to the community as increased summer camps and after-school programs, as well as properly funding public libraries and recreation centers. With the city in crisis, Brown said enforcement is needed and essential to regain order in our communities, including quality-of-life crimes.
In 2022, 54% of crimes involving illegal firearms were dismissed. Brown said this is unacceptable.
"My constituents want to see accountability for the murder of the youth in our neighborhoods and loved ones. They don't want to have to sleep on the floor any longer for fear of stray bullets coming through the window,” Brown said. “Community members want action now. They want the gun violence to stop. They want shooters to be held accountable. They want to feel safe no matter where they are -- home, work or just out trying to enjoy life.
“A small portion of repeat offenders are holding our city hostage because they have no accountability," he said.
He also called on the city to immediately fill the approximately 600 open uniform police positions and properly staff the 911 call center by expanding the use of signing bonuses and incentive pay utilizing COVID-19 relief funds available to Kenney.
"It is my job to listen to the concerns of and advocate for my constituents, as well as make sure I’m doing my part to keep them safe, and I am willing to do what it takes," Brown said. "I tell my constituents to hold me accountable; and as an elected official, we must also hold each other accountable in working together to develop real plans of action to stop this bloodshed."