Cites commitment to public safety
By Kristina Dixon
In her inaugural speech, Philadelphia’s first female mayor, Cherelle Parker, doubled down on her commitment to achieving public safety and economic success.
Parker was formally sworn in Jan. 2 as the 100th mayor to lead the city of Brotherly Love, Action News reported, but took the oath of office before the ceremony.
In addition to sharing her humble beginnings, the long-serving councilwoman discussed her plans to crack down on violence, theft, drugs and policing. In doing so, Parker hopes to establish order over the lawlessness in the city.
Parker’s signing of several executive orders, including improving city employment, reducing juvenile delinquency and government visibility. On Tuesday, she signed an order declaring a Public Safety Emergency to “expeditiously get every available resource into neighborhoods struggling with the scourges of crime, gun violence, drugs, and addiction,” as stated in her 100-Day Action Plan.
“If we don’t get our own house in order before company comes, and if we don’t address public safety, we won’t be ready to receive anybody in 2026,” Parker said during her inaugural address “We are going to bring together local, state, and federal officials—along with our business leaders who have a stake in the economic success of our city—so that we can tap into the intellectual resources of Philadelphia, and truly try to create economic opportunities for everyone.”
Parker begins her term as the city’s homicides decline compared to the over 500 murders in 2020 and 2021. Theft, however, is becoming a growing issue. The number of reported vehicle thefts increased by 72%. Retail theft rose to 28% last year.
Parker plans to hire more police officers, focusing on community policing, a policy she advocated for on the city council. The U.S. Department of Justice defines community policing as a “philosophy that promotes organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues…”
“Officers there as guardians and not warriors, getting to know the people they are sworn to protect and serve,” Parker said, adding that she will be collaborating with new police commissioner Kevin Bethel.
Philadelphia is struggling to tackle the surge in the use of xylazine, fentanyl and tranq, especially in the drug-ravaged neighborhood of Kensington. Parker plans to clean up the open drug market in Kensington.
Parker and her administration will be busy this year as the city prepares for America’s 250th anniversary and the FIFA World Cup in 2026.