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."
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.
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.
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.
Philadelphia saw minimal improvements in the representation of people of color in mayoral departments this fiscal year.
- Overall, diversity numbers ticked up 1 percentage point compared to the previous fiscal year, according to the Office of the Controller's recent review.
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.
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.
- The Philadelphia School District has already asked parents to prepare for a potential move to virtual learning if a strike occurs.
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.
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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