Mike D'Onofrio
11 hours ago - News

Philadelphia police brass sticks by anti-violence strategy

The Philadelphia Police Department headquarters
The Philadelphia Police Department headquarters. Photo: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Philly's top cop is sticking by the city's anti-violence plan as homicides remain on track to reach an all-time high by year's end.

Driving the news: Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday that the department has seen a steady decline in homicides recently after "pretty high spikes" earlier in the year.

  • "We know that our strategies are working," she said during the city's gun violence update. "We have to continually assess and then tweak in areas where we know some things may not be as effective."
Taylor Allen
11 hours ago - News

Pennsylvania sees most animal-related collision claims in nation

Data: State Farm; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Drivers are more likely to hit an animal with their vehicle in Pennsylvania than most other places in the country.

Driving the news: The state ranks fifth in the nation for collisions between cars and animals, State Farm data shows.

  • The likelihood of hitting an animal is one in 54.
Taylor Allen
Oct 27, 2021 - News

Philly moves to equip officers with Tasers year after Wallace's killing

A demonstrator holding placard during a protest near the location where Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by two police officers on Oct. 26, 2020. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images
A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest near where Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by two officers. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

One year after the fatal Philadelphia police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., the city moved to equip and train all patrol officers with Tasers.

Of note: The effort will cost $14 million, but the funds were already approved in the city budget earlier this year.

  • "It is our belief, and the sincere hope of the Wallace family that these measures will save lives," Shaka Johnson and Kevin O'Brien, attorneys for the Wallace family, said in a statement to Axios.
Mike D'Onofrio
Oct 26, 2021 - News

SEPTA unveils service interruption plan in case of strike

SEPTA buses sit idle.
SEPTA buses sit idle at the transit agency's Frankford Transportation Center in 2005. Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

SEPTA has unveiled its service interruption plan in the event of a strike should ongoing union contract negotiations fall flat.

Why it matters: If SEPTA workers represented by Transport Workers Union Local 234 (TWU) walk off the job, thousands of residents would be without reliable service to get where they need to go.

Taylor Allen
Oct 26, 2021 - Politics

Little improvement in Philly mayoral departments' diversity, report finds

Photo: Cory Clark/Getty Images
Photo: Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Philadelphia saw minimal improvements in the representation of people of color in mayoral departments this fiscal year.

Why it matters: More than 65% of Philadelphia's population identifies as a race other than white, per the office. But people of color only make up around 54% of the employees in mayoral departments with exempt status.

  • Exempt employees are paid a salary, non-union, and do executive work. These people are usually staffers, but not elected officials.
Mike D'Onofrio
Oct 25, 2021 - News

SEPTA workers union authorizes strike

A commuter boards a SEPTA bus in Philadelphia over the summer.
A commuter boards a SEPTA bus in Philadelphia on July 30. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The union representing SEPTA employees says workers are ready to strike if contract negotiations fail.

Driving the news: Members of Transport Workers Union Local 234 (TWU) voted to authorize a strike on Sunday, handing its president Willie Brown a new bargaining chip against SEPTA as contract talks enter the final week.

Why it matters: While SEPTA ridership is down due to the pandemic, the transportation agency remains vital for workers and students throughout the city.

Taylor Allen
Oct 25, 2021 - News

Skull found at Philadelphia high school prompts districtwide search

A general view of the School District of Philadelphia offices on December 31, 2015. Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images
The exterior of the School District of Philadelphia offices on December 31, 2015. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

The School District of Philadelphia is asking high school principals and other officials to search for skeletal remains in their buildings after the discovery of a human skull at Central High School.

Driving the news: The school district announced the finding of the "human skeletal item," believed to have belonged to a Native American male, on Friday. The district told Axios that a staff member originally discovered the skull in June.

  • Now district officials are working with the Department of Interior and Temple University to repatriate the remains.
Taylor Allen
Oct 22, 2021 - News

Philadelphia's $1 billion problem: Tangled titles

Three rows of identical houses on a blue background, with one of the houses replaced with a lock.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

There are more than 10,000 tangled titles — or property titles that bear the name of someone other than the current homeowner — in Philadelphia.

  • Most often, a title is tangled because it's still under the name of a deceased person.

Why it matters: These homes can't negotiate with banks, get access to city-funded grants for home repairs or sell — all of which leads to more blight, according to research from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

  • Register Of Wills Tracey Gordon called it a threat to generational wealth.

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