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Philadelphia police bike in South Philadelphia on Jan. 1. Credit: Max Mester

Philadelphia has been selected to participate in a federal program aimed at reducing crime through a partnership with the Philadelphia Police Department.

Philadelphia  will participate in the National Public Safety Partnership program along with nine other cities, each with violence levels above the national average. At no cost to the city, the three-year federal program from the Department of Justice will provide the Philadelphia Police with training and assistance in areas including gun violence, community engagement, and crime analysis, Philly Voice reported.

PSP began as a pilot program to combat violent crime in 2014 and was implemented in 2017. Since then, it has served more than 40 cities, Philly Voice reported. The program is designed to bring federal resources, including specialized law enforcement expertise and prosecutorial resources, to local municipalities.

The United States experienced an overall rise in murder of almost 30 percent, the biggest one-year change since national record-keeping began in 1960. Like many cities across the country, Philadelphia experienced a surge in homicides beginning early last year. In 2020, there were 499 homicides in Philadelphia, only one short of the record-high number of killings in 1990. 

PSP joins a host of violence prevention efforts in Philadelphia. In June, Philadelphia’s city council approved a budget that allocates $155 million towards violence prevention programs to reduce gun violence, NBC10 Philadelphia reported. At a federal level, President Joe Biden’s administration chose Philadelphia as one of 15 cities to join a national initiative uniting cities to collaborate on violence intervention strategies. 

“PSP emphasizes the importance of law enforcement and community partnerships, essential factors to achieving comprehensive and sustainable approaches to Philadelphia’s violent crime epidemic and a theme we have repeated again and again this year,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a DOJ press release. “Please take heart, Philadelphia; we are continuing to fight and will turn the tide of violence.”