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Philly Official Questions Anti-Violence Spending

Despite pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into anti-violence programs, Philadelphia's spending program is focused almost entirely on initiatives that won't show results for at least five years, the city's controller warns in a new analysis. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart's analysis shows the share of spending devoted to strategies that could yield results in one to three years has declined since last year.

The city's $208 million anti-violence spending plan was agreed to in June in negotiations between Mayor Jim Kenney's administration and the City Council. The plan marked a 35 percent increase in spending, but Rhynhart's analysis shows that the share of money for short-term interventions barely changed, at 17 percent of the total. The mayor's office disputed that estimate, saying more than 70 percent of the budget supports short-term programs, not even counting the nearly $800 million police budget, "which is largely a short-term anti-violence strategy," a spokesperson said. The mayor's office categorizes several strategies as short-term that the controller did not, including quality-of-life improvements and programs that offer alternatives to incarceration for people convicted of nonviolent crimes. The report by Rhynhart, a frequent critic of the mayor's crime policies and a potential mayoral candidate, comes as the city's violence is on track to match or exceed last year's record toll.


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