City to get federal $ to fight crime

The city’s been a little short on cash lately, in case you haven’t heard.
The police overtime budget was cut earlier this month because of the ongoing budget crisis, just as the city started to experience a sharp rise in murders and shootings.
Imagine, then, how Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Everett Gillison reacted yesterday when he learned the city could receive more than $1 million in federal funds to boost its crime-fighting efforts.
U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved $5 million for state projects through the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill.
Philadelphia is slated to receive $250,000 to purchase mobile, solar-powered surveillance cameras; $1 million for the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership; and $100,000 for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Services.
The check’s not in the mail — the bill still has to be approved by the Senate and House<NO1> of Representatives<NO>, and signed by President Obama — but Gillison <NO1>still <NO>said he was “very excited.”
Gillison noted that the city has been forced to slice funding for the YVRP — which tries to keep hundreds of at-risk youths off a path that could lead to death and destruction — from $5 million to $3.2 million.
“The YVRP needs the money,” he said. “To see some of it being restored is a really positive step.”
Gillison said the city would use the mobile surveillance cameras to keep tabs on properties owned by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.”
The budget crisis has already forced the city to scale back its own surveillance camera program, originally intended to include 250 police cameras.
Gillison said that total now stands at 206, 40 of which are still covered in plastic bags. Those cameras should be operational by the second week of August, he added.

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