By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It started with a hand shake, the Philadelphia Anti-and Drug Anti-Violence Network teamed up with the Philadelphia Police Department to hit the streets. This time near 64th and Woodlawn Avenue in West Philadelphia, during the first weekend of summer.

The goal is to prevent, respond and end violence along with drug abuse among the youth and families across Philadelphia.

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“We are what we call, credible messengers because the people who grew up in neighborhoods like this and for that reason they have some built in credibility and it’s easier for them to establish a rapport,” said the Anti-Violence Network’s Exec. Director George D. Mosee Jr.

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Shooting are up 3% and homicides have risen more than 6% so far in 2019 compared to last year.

The recent spike in homicides motivated Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to join this year’s walk.

“We’ve been having an uptick in violence and an uptick in homicides so it’s been very depressing and frustrating,” Mayor Kenney said. “I want to make sure they know we have their backs  and that people in this communities and others know that someone cares about them and what’s going on and trying to stop it.”

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The group focuses on community crisis intervention by offering the youth job training and educational opportunities.

Nineteen-year-old Jeremiah Edwards is one of them, he is a barber trainee on Woodlawn Avenue.

“My point of view, I’ve seen people help me so I figure I should try to help somebody else,” he said

The group is part of a private initiative that receives city funding, they began canvassing neighborhoods weekly in August of 2018.

They walk every Thursday through Sunday evenings and nights and starting in the first few weeks in July, the group will begin walking during the day.

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CBS3’s Chantee Lans reports.