PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City leaders are raising the alarm on the growing trend of gun violence, a trend that’s already taken the lives of more than 60 young people this year. They are calling for action from fellow leaders and community members.
Last year was the deadliest Philadelphia has seen in decades. Right now, the city is projected to surpass that number if homicides continue at the current rate.READ MORE: 30 Years Later, Search For Joy Hibbs' Killer Continues With New Reward Posted For Information
Saturday’s rally was a call to action.
In front of the Francis Myers Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, chairman of the special committee on gun violence prevention, organized the Peace Not Guns Call-To-Action rally.
Seventeen-year-old Kyeir Pickens was shot and killed while playing basketball outside the rec center last Friday.
Johnson is requesting updated security cameras outside rec centers in the Second District and wants the Philadelphia Police Department to maintain a constant presence around rec centers throughout the city until at least September.READ MORE: 17 People Injured In Crash Involving SEPTA Bus After Car Runs Red Light, Officials Say
Johnson says the special committee’s new partnership with community groups aims to provide services for youth at rec centers in his district.
This is a first in a series of community conversations that Johnson plans to hold where residents can share suggestions on ways to increase peace in Philadelphia.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says officers will be more visible in areas plagued by gun violence.
“High visibility in a lot of our troubled areas,” Outlaw said. “Not only in our vehicles but out on foot, out on bicycle and specifically again our locations where we know, we expect to see large gatherings of people.”
Johnson says this series of conversations between now and September will help form his public safety requests for the upcoming 2021 operating budget.MORE NEWS: Arrest Warrant Issued For Contractor Ronald Williams Accused Of Scamming At Least 10 People Using Nextdoor App
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.