PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police are looking to increase patrols in city parks and recreation areas after Saturday’s mass shooting at a playground. On Sunday, the community was left doing some soul-searching to get to the root of the violence.
Just one day after two gunmen mercilessly opened fire on helpless victims at a basketball game at Baker Playground in Overbrook, the community gathered at The Met to talk about solutions to the gun violence epidemic.
“You tell them they’re a gangster, they’re going to believe,” one speaker said. “You tell them they’re an animal, they’re going to believe, and you act accordingly.”
Speakers said the problem boils down to the perception of young men of color, a lack of opportunity and jobs.
“If y’all don’t give these kids some jobs, I can’t help them at all,” another speaker said.
Police are still searching for the would-be killers from Saturday night, but fortunately all seven victims are expected to survive.
In addition to increased patrols at summer events, neighbors want more surveillance cameras.
Benjamin Wright was a referee at a basketball game at a city park several years ago.
“Mander Playground was an outlet for guys to grow themselves, show themselves,” Wright said.
Now Wright wants playgrounds – what he considers safe zones for children – to be safer with more cameras installed.
“If a sign going up and cameras going up can prevent the individual who’s even thinking about it,” Wright said.
According to the city, about 60% of parks and recreational facilities have cameras.
The Parks and Recreation Department says it’s working to install strategically-placed CCTV cameras at all of the city’s park and recreation sites.
Saturday’s shooting was the second at a playground in less than a month.
On June 16, six people were shot – including a man who was killed – at a graduation party at Paschall Playground in Southwest Philadelphia.
After Sunday’s meeting, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said he feels encouraged after expressing clear frustration on Saturday night.
“It’s a tremendous showing because people care about it,” Ross said.
“I thought it was important to hear from the community folks and we respond to what they’re hearing,” Pennsylvania state Sen. Sharif Street said. “No one has a monopoly on solutions and certainly hearing from the greatest number of minds about what’s going on gives us the best chance at making some progress.”
Police tell Eyewitness News that despite the mass shooting Saturday and Sunday’s double shooting, there have been fewer shootings in the city over the past couple of days than in recent weekends.