Thursday, July 9, 2020

Philly's Official Ineptitude Enables A Surge In Violent Crime

By A. Benjamin Mannes 


In 2020, Philadelphia’s violent crime rate has seen surging at levels not seen since the “crack explosion” era of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

What makes this issue more frightful for the city’s residents is a seemingly ineffective response to a crimewave embodied in a 37-page plan that Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw attributes to a partnership with the District Attorney and Mayor; which is high on platitudes and low on action.

Despite the talk of progress and social justice, the 4thof July holiday weekend resulted in 34 shootings and eight murders throughout Philadelphia; which included those of a six-year old child and a 15-year-old teen. The city’s response has not bolstered confidence in their ability to get crime under control. This is largely because the Mayor, District Attorney and Police Commissioner have created a double standard in enforcement in where police officials face unlawful transfers and/or termination for enforcing laws during protests or using force to arrest violent criminals. This has resulted in an emboldened criminal element.

Commissioner Danielle Outlaw’s response to the latest wave of violence was “It’s very chilling what’s been happening over the past few weeks.” Instead of stepping up like a true law enforcement officer, Outlaw instead blamed the crime wave on “challenges between the pandemic limiting" [police resources] and having to devote further resources to "weeks of protests in the city.” Commissioner Outlaw explained “We’ve been shifting and shuffling our resources which might, in the end, decrease visibility in some areas where we’ve been more prominent, but we’ll get there. I think communication is key."

Outlaw and her boss, Mayor Jim Kenney have consistently mentioned this communication by claiming “community involvement and the police department's relationship with the community” as vital in addressing this issue. However, Outlaw, Kenney nor District Attorney Krasner have detailed how communities with a fundamental distrust and a pure dislike of the police will effectively communicate with police to turn in the violent criminal element that victimize and threaten them every day.

Commissioner Outlaw claims that her strategy to combat violence has several facets, which include reassessing how police respond to calls about addiction and homelessness, adding that her department will be targeting neighborhoods where violence persists by working closely with other law enforcement agencies, including federal counterparts. This is an interesting turnaround of city policy considering that Outlaw’s boss, Mayor Kenney has actually halted police cooperation with their federal law enforcement counterparts.

Furthermore, sources within the Philadelphia Police claim that Outlaw has sidelined and even redefined the department’s most effective units in dealing with street crime. Sources in the Highway Patrol and Narcotics Strike Force units claim that they have orders to avoid the aggressive policing tactics that gained them national recognition for effectiveness; and reassigned to traffic and visibility-based enforcement actions.

Meanwhile, the city continues to spiral into a cycle of violence and despair that previous generations had fought to improve. In an effort to be “woke” to appease an increasingly more progressive voting block; our Mayor and District Attorney are creating policies that ignore the effective law enforcement principals that got this level of crime under control in the 1990s and late 2000s. This lackluster response by elected officials victimizes Philadelphians, a majority of whom are black and brown, who are being murdered at a rate that is currently over 30% higher since Outlaw has assumed command of the Police Department. [Seven of the eight murder victims over the weekend were black.] Meanwhile, DA Krasner describes this issue as a “national trend."

The sad fact is, in the absence of the checks and balances of a two-party political system, Philadelphia’s elected leaders feel they can selectively enforce laws and blame the emboldened criminality that results on external crises like COVID-19 or the George Floyd protests. This politicization and failure to take responsibility for the safety of your citizens is dangerous.

This is why State Representative Martina White (R – Phila) formally introduced an amendment to the state constitution allowing for the recall of elected officials who oversee local or state executive branches, agencies or departments last week.

This has been heralded as a long-needed provision in assuring that corruption or gross mismanagement is not allowed to fester in a municipality simply because it is enabled by an elected leader. If the law-abiding, tax paying citizens of Philadelphia don’t provide oversight for the failures of their elected leaders, then it’s time for the state and federal governments to step in and do it for them. After all, the lives of all Philadelphians matter too much for them to be used as political pawns.

A. Benjamin Mannes, MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his own experiences on both sides the criminal justice system. He has served as a federal and municipal law enforcement officer and was the former Director, Office of Investigations with North America’s largest medical board.


  1. Outlaw, Kenny & the clown of a DA need to go. They continue to pander to the criminals while the city turns into a warzone..

    1. Agreed. It's beyond belief that any of these three loads are in the positions they're in. Like something out of the Twilight Zone.

  2. Last line of Commissioner Outlaw's "action plan" is most revealing:

    "......(most) internally motivated law enforcement agency in the nation......"

    And that will only happen when the police and city administration stand behind and support their officers, regardless of rank, during some of the most trying and difficult conditions facing the men and women in blue on the streets of Philadelphia. Support is Job #1.....political expediency will never produce "internally motivated law enforcement". ACCOUNTABILITY is for ALL who work in public service.

    Michael Skiendzielewski. Captain (Retired), C.I.B.


  4. She needs to stop the violence and do her job, patrol the streets to find out whats going on.

  5. More of the same huh. You cant fix the problem just by addressing the symptoms. Violent crimes,homelessness,
    Lack of education are not by chance. Years and years of conditioning. It's easy to sit on the sideline and complain. It's time to think outside of the box not more of the same tactics. Years ago there were Police the exactly had a relationships with the citizen when they got hired to PROTECT AND SERVE. Now most only know the bad guys because that's help get them more 7C. Which is the motivating factor more times then not. Selfish on everyones part nowadays. If your unable to see all human beings as your equal regardless of race, gender, age or occupation then its Gameover. Regardless of who you dont like they were all just children at some point. Children are born pure (info absorbers). They learn from the environment and people around them. So if your not going to help everyone as whole. Then just hush because their are enough politicians already. Become the change you seek.

    1. Maloman - children learn their first lessons in the family unit. However, if the family unit consists of a single mother, kids will regrettably have no good father figure to protect them and to teach them life's valuable lessons. Instead, many of them will seek acceptance among their peers, join gangs, do drugs, steal, drop out of school - and the list goes on. It all starts with the family unit. Tell me, how does society enforce this? Generational welfare and Obama phones are but ephemeral band aids, not the long term solution to the crucial formation of one's self esteem and productivity.


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