Philadelphia Metropolis

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If it works, shut it down

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Earlier this year, Metropolis did a three-part series on Philadelphia's Gun Violence Task Force, a $5-million-a-year effort to stop straw purchasing of guns.  By almost any account, the task force 
is a success, with nearly 700 prosecutions and convictions.  The city also used the money to beef up its ballistics lab -- and eliminate a 6,000-case backlog.  So what do you do with a good program with a proven track record? Cut its budget.  The budget proposed by Gov., Rendell for next year reduces the task force budget from $5 million to $3 million -- and more cuts are in store for future years.  A group of law enforcement officials yesterday (March 23) decried the proposed cuts, arguing the task force should be expanded to other cities, not cut down.
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