PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Creators of a new smartphone app are hoping Philadelphians put down their guns and start using their cell phones to settle disputes instead. CBS3’s Alecia Reid explains how this is just one more tool attempting to help quell the surge of gun violence on the city’s streets.
The Philly Truce app aims to connect people to the help they need. Mediators will be readily available once you click for help. It was invented in an effort to prevent violent interactions in the city.READ MORE: Maple Shade Volunteer Fire Department Unexpectedly Shut Down
“The resources are here but the problem is they’re not visible and sometimes they’re not accessible,” Co-Creator Steven Pickens said.
Now, Pickens and his co-creator Mazzie Casher believe this app can bridge the gap.
“We got a program where we’re gonna target all the block captains, schools, so we’re just getting started,” Casher said. “We want to counter the culture of violence in Philadelphia.”
There will be two buttons when you log into the app — “Get Help” and “Mediator.” The “Get Help” button will connect you to a trained volunteer, that person will talk you through how to help resolve conflict before turning to violence.READ MORE: Sesame Will Have To Be Identified On Labels Under New Allergy Law Signed By President Biden
Former Philly police officer Keith Quick was a homicide detective in 1990 when the city hit 500 murders. He’s now helping shine a spotlight on the city’s gun violence epidemic and helping to train volunteers that will graduate next Saturday after months of mediation training.
“With the upsurge of violence in the community we recommend anyone that’s concerned with what’s going on in their community to come join us, get trained to become mediators,” Quick said.
The app is now available on Android and will be accessible to iPhone users shortly. The team is hoping city leaders will join the movement.
“People in City Hall, our mayor Jim Kenney, our managing directors, our office of violence prevention,” Pickens said. “We need the push of these offices to promote downloading the app so that people know this help is available.”MORE NEWS: SEPTA Launches New Tool To Help Commuters Check Bus Seat Availability At Any Time
A number of local officials are in support of this app and are expected to be in attendance at next week’s Philly Truce Day at Nicetown Park — including the district attorney as well as Councilman Kenyatta Johnson who heads the special committee on gun violence.