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Philadelphia's Response to Anti-Crime Posters:

The City regularly reviews proposed ads that go on bus shelters and has the final responsibility and authority to approve or disapprove the ads.

We've disapproved other ads before on a host of occasions.

Our consensus view – our Police and Public Property departments – was this ad sent too mixed a message about violence for the city to endorse it for placement on the bus shelters.

The top phrase, "City of Brotherly Love?", seems to create an overall impression that could be construed as violent, combined with the gun image.

It is very important to note the City does NOT shrink away from the violence issue, even in terms of messages and other images we've endorsed.

We recently endorsed the "Put It Down" campaign created by a team of party promoters, who are taking that campaign into urban neighborhoods around the city to reach youths and young adults with some fairly edgy messages about anti-violence.

The central image of the Put It Down campaign poster is a handgun encircled by a heart. BUT that image is surrounded by the large words, PUT IT DOWN.

The message of that ad is clear and unmistakable – PUT THE GUNS DOWN. We endorsed it wholeheartedly.

In addition, last summer the City supported a PSA campaign TV ad created by ABC6 Action News, in concert with the City, featuring the mayor, the governor, Ryan Howard of the Phillies, Bernard Hopkins, Sylvester Stallone and others.

The central message of that PSA campaign was THIS IS OUR HOUSE. Another key message in that PSA was the phrase, "LAY IT DOWN" – a clear reference to laying your gun down. It featured police sirens, flashing red lights, and was clearly a gritty message aimed at reducing and preventing violence.

We don't shy away from this issue AT ALL.

We just felt this particular ad sent too mixed a message about violence and it just wasn't appropriate for bus shelters across the city.

We value everyone who wants to participate in the city's Operation Safer Streets campaign to reduce and prevent violence, including the creators of this ad. We thank the creators of this ad for their ideas and their willingness to help. We just don't feel this particular ad was appropriate for a city-sponsored bus shelter.

Joe Grace, Acting Communications Director, Office of the Mayor

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