A bipartisan committee of Pennsylvania legislators has been empaneled to investigate Philadelphia’s rising crime rate, specifically offenses involving guns.
The state’s General Assembly’s HR 216 was approved June 27 by the House. Representative Joshua Kail was the primary sponsor of the bill along with four cosponsors. The select committee consists of three Republicans and two Democrats and may urge the impeachment of Philly’s Democratic District Attorney, Larry Krasner.
Committee members will investigate, review and make recommendations about rising crime in the City of Brotherly Love. They intend to focus on offenses involving illegal firearms possession. Members will also review use of public funds intended for use in law enforcement and criminal prosecution in the city.
Victims rights enforcement in the city will also be studied, along with reviewing the use of public funds intended for the purposes such as crime victim compensation and crime victim services.
When they conclude their investigation, committee members will make recommendations for beneficial changes that may include legislation to improve enforcement of law and providing crime victim services. If the members determine the city district attorney’s performance is contributing to crime increase, they may recommend discipline such as removal from office or impeachment.
“This bipartisan group of lawmakers understands that what residents and visitors of Philadelphia are currently experiencing must change,” House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-100th L.D., said in a statement. “I am confident these members will work together to find solutions and hold those in power accountable for allowing crime in Philadelphia to reach the levels they have today.”
The city reported 562 homicides in 2021, the highest number of murders in Philadelphia’s history. Murders in the City of Brotherly Love are running about two percent less than this time last year, according to data released by police.
In addition to the record number of homicides in the city last year, approximately 1,800 others were wounded by firearms in 2021, according to an NPR report.
“We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence,” Krasner said at a press conference last year. “It’s important that we don’t let this become mushy and bleed into the notion that there is some kind of big spike in crime.”
Three people were murdered and 11 wounded in a shooting last month that involved multiple gunmen in a restaurant district of Philadelphia. A group of juveniles beat an elderly city man to death Monday with a traffic cone.
The district attorney can claim there is no crisis of crime but continuing cadence of murder and mayhem contradict his words.
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