PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police and community groups are searching for solutions to a spike in the number of young people shot in Philadelphia in 2019. This came after another teenager was shot in a double shooting outside of a Chinese takeout restaurant on Christmas night.
Leaders are turning to a program implemented back in the 1970s, which helped to bring down gang-related deaths in Philly from over 300 to just two in one year as violence in the city continues to surge.
“Mobilize the community to make sure the community has resources but that the community, in fact, feels empowered and that we can take back our streets,” Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network Executive Director George Mosee said.
Mosee says to stop the violence, people need to speak up.
“If you’re dumb enough to commit a crime in front of Mrs. Jones’ house, well that’s on you. Mrs. Jones has to protect her neighborhood,” Mosee said. “She has to protect her home. She should be able to make that call without feeling that you’re going to come and try to do harm to her.”
Mosee is a former Philadelphia prosecutor. He says back in the 1970s, the crisis intervention program encouraged people to report suspicious activity before a crime happened. He says his nonprofit is now working on a similar program.
“It wasn’t the FBI, DEA, Philly PD, but it was the people in the community — just putting their collective foot down and saying we’re not going to take it anymore,” Mosee said.
Mosee’s office is three blocks from where a 16-year-old was injured in a shooting on Christmas night. The teen was outside the Jade Garden restaurant near Lehigh Avenue and 15th Street. That’s less than a mile away from a shooting on Monday that killed 16-year-old Amir Lassiter, who was standing on his porch.
With more than 100 people under the age of 18 shot so far in 2019 in Philadelphia, Mosee says they have to act now.
“At the end of the day, it boils down to talking about the issue at hand, talking about the fact that using a gun to settle your differences is wrong on both sides,” Mosee said. “It’s very disturbing and with regards to the younger victims, in particular, it goes to show how unpredictable it is.”
He also says preventing teens from getting shot is so difficult because oftentimes, they aren’t the intended target.
“They just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Inexperienced shooters missing their target and hitting other people,” Mosee said.
As for the investigation into Wednesday’s double shooting, the 16-year-old victim is in stable condition, but a man was listed in critical condition at last check.
No arrests have been made.