Police also plan to ask home owners at times for consent to search their homes without a probable-cause warrant, District Attorney Lynn Abraham said Monday.
“If we go to a house, we’re going to ask the owner of the house if they will consent to a search for illegal weapons,” Abraham said at a news conference. “Any gun that we can find that way is one more gun we can get off the street.
Philadelphia hit a seven-year high of 377 murders in 2005, about 80 percent of them committed with guns. The city is running 7 percent ahead of that pace this year, with 375 homicides as of early Monday. About 85 percent of the 2006 slayings involved guns, Johnson said.
The task force will eventually employ about 25 people. The first unit, with four investigators and a prosecutor assigned from the District Attorney’s Office, will be assigned to southwest Philadelphia, where 28 percent of this year’s homicides have taken place.