PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Three teenagers have been shot and killed in recent days. On Saturday, Philadelphia officials met to talk about what can be done to keep the city’s young people safe.
Saturday’s emergency meeting was held at the same rec center a teenager was killed at on Thursday. Right now, the city’s homicide rate is up 35% from where we were this time last year.READ MORE: Man Shot At Least 8 Times In Strawberry Mansion Left In Critical Condition, Police Say
“None of my students out here feel safe,” a woman said.
The community made a plea to city officials on Saturday in the wake of continued gun violence in Philadelphia.
“It hurts to hear that there was a shooting that grazed my students. It hurts to hear that there was a shooting that killed someone,” a woman said.
A number of Philadelphia City Council members, state representatives, and senators held an emergency meeting to speak to the community.
“We understand that this is an emergency and immediately we need to have an immediate response,” Sage Purple Blackwell with N.I.C.E. said.
“We know violence and death way too well. In the past five years, we’ve lost a student every year,” Dave Hardy with Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia said.
Multiple shootings on Thursday and Friday left six people dead, three of whom were teenagers. There was another homicide in the city’s Mantua section on Saturday night.READ MORE: Firefighters Quickly Get Fire Under Control In West Philadelphia
“On the city’s part, I think we have to have outreach workers here to talk to young people and try to calm down conflict,” Councilmember Jamie Gauthier said.
The city is now beefing up patrols in areas plagued by gun violence.
“Our children cannot keep dying. These are not even children who are quote-on-quote involved in things that lead to death,” Rep. Joanna McClinton said.
State Sen. Anthony Williams says the attorney general has made a commitment to change the disbursement of grant money to fund more programs in hard-hit areas.
In the meantime, a newly formed team in the state senator’s office will be tracking online chatter of violence.
“That means those who want to glorify violence, who want to brag about violence, we’re going to track down that conversation and I want you to understand that those of you who may be listening, those who may be recording, we’re going to turn it over to law enforcement,” Williams said.
Williams says in the next month, city officials plan to have one-on-one conversations with neighborhood gangs to see what they can do to help change their lives. He also believes organizing a national response may also be necessary.MORE NEWS: Police: Man In Critical Condition In Germantown Double Shooting
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.