Thanks to an innovative program that targets likely shooters before they ever pull the trigger, shootings in South Philly are down 43 percent over last year, the Inquirer reports.
The paper says that in April, police and the D.A.’s Office rounded up 45 “corner boys” who were members of rival street gangs and offered them job training, counseling and other support. If any one of them fired a shot, the entire group would be targeted: by reviving stalled cases, raising bail amounts, cracking down on parole and probation enforcement and even sending utility companies to see if any of them were stealing electricity.
It’s been working:
Four days after the first call-in, a member of the 16th and Manton crew – known as M-16 – exchanged shots with a rival. The Focused Deterrence team began an enforcement.
Police flooded every corner, block, and bar where M-16 hung out. Probation stepped up home visits, ordering drug tests and notifying judges of violations. Fourteen crew members were arrested. Five members had their power turned off for pirated electricity. Two were arrested on child-support warrants. Faced with higher bails – and the threat of federal cases – some crew members gave up information on homicides to stay out of prison.
The whole story is worth a read. Check it out here.