PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia has recorded its highest number of homicides to date in 12 years. Now, some are demanding that the city do a better job to combat its gun violence problem.
“My son was murdered — May 25, 2015,” a mother said.
The funerals and memorials are long over.
“My son was murdered — Feb. 23, 2016,” another mother said.
But the scars worn by family members of those cut down by gun violence are fresh.
“I lost my son, Isere George, in December 2018,” Aisha Drayton said.
“My son is Christian Hamilton Arthur,” Crystal Arthur said. “He was murdered on July 17, 2017.”
In Manayunk on Sunday night, it was a heartrending meeting on the shattered lives left behind from gun violence.
The evening comes during a particularly deadly year in Philadelphia.
The city’s 300-plus homicides so far are up 7% from last year. It’s trending at its highest in 12 years.
“We have to live this every day,” a mother said.
Gun violence is such a common occurrence, Drayton noted a routine that follows after someone is gunned down.
First, there’s a makeshift memorial followed by tears and candles in the darkness. Eventually, balloons fly skyward.
Drayton takes issue with what she considers is a lack of proactivity in the efforts to halt the violence. Her 18-year-old son was shot and killed in front of her home last year.
“It’s like you never get the opportunity to heal because it’s happening every day,” Drayton said. “Every time I turn my television on, I’m hearing about someone losing their lives. And all I can think about is my son.”
Arthur says the culture of turning to firearms to settle differences must end.
“Just stop doing what you’re doing because it’s not getting anybody anywhere,” she said.
Last week, the City of Philadelphia announced a $5 million investment to curb gun violence. It would fund crisis intervention programs, mentorship, workplace development, the cleanup of blight and securing vacant lots.