Philadelphia's new mayor declares public safety emergency, vows to use 'community-centered model' to crack down on crime, drugs

"I am fully committed to ending this sense of lawlessness and bringing order back to our city," she said.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Just hours after being inaugurated as the 100th mayor of Philadelphia, Cherelle Parker signed a series of executive orders and declared a Public Safety Emergency, vowing to take immediate action against crime and drug use in the City of Brotherly Love.

Parker admitted that Philly needed more law enforcement, but also noted that public safety was best achieved via a "community-centered model."

In her administration's 100-Day Action Plan, released Tuesday, Parker explained that the emergency declaration will "expeditiously get every available resource into neighborhoods struggling with the scourges of crime, gun violence, drugs, and addiction."

"In recent years, Philadelphia experienced an unprecedented rise in violent crime, and of late, in property and quality-of-life crimes," the plan stated. "An underlying problem is a serious shortage of police officers, made worse by inefficiencies in recruiting and onboarding. The city grapples with a feeling of insecurity in too many neighborhoods."

She vowed to "cultivate a community-centered model of public safety, where trust between law enforcement and residents is paramount," adding that, "we will restore a sense of lawfulness to the city—supporting those in need while prosecuting those who commit violence."

Under the executive order, the Police Commissioner will, alongside intergovernmental partners and other city departments, be tasked with "developing a strategy to permanently shut down open-air drug markets, including in Kensington," as well as a plan to tackle "quality-of-life crimes, such as car theft, shoplifting, and illegal ATV use."

The Managing Director will also "explore all options and funding sources for providing long-term housing, care, and treatment for our most vulnerable residents, including the unhoused and those suffering from addiction and mental health challenges."

"If somebody tells you 'We think she lacks compassion because she wants to be too aggressive in cleaning up the open-air drug market,' you tell them to think about whether or not they would want their mother, father, sister, brother, loved one on the streets openly using intravenous drugs," Parker said during her passionate inauguration address. 

"If we don't get our own house in order before company comes, and if we don't address public safety, we won't be ready to receive anybody in 2026," she said, referring to the upcoming FIFA World Cup. "I want the world to know that I am fully committed to ending this sense of lawlessness and bringing order back to our city, and a sense of lawfulness."

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