PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Residents in Southwest Philadelphia clashed with city leaders Wednesday night in the fight against criminal activity in their neighborhood. Political and law enforcement leaders are now focusing on Stop & Go stores in their fight against neighborhood criminal activity.
The meeting at Ezekiel Baptist Church brought together officials and residents to discuss new solutions to a persisting crime problem. Some of those solutions put emphasis on a local deli that some are saying draws in criminals. State Representative Joanna McClinton told CBS3 it’s been a concern for everyone in the community.READ MORE: How The New COVID-19 Variant Impacts Your Travel Plans
“We have seen great evidence of shootings being down everywhere, in this area they’re up, and it’s a lot of bad activity around a deli that’s becoming a nuisance business in our community,” she said.
“I believe alcohol brings violence,” one resident said during the feedback part of the meeting.
Representatives from the Philadelphia Police Department, the city’s District Attorney’s Office, and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement also attended the event to move the conversation forward – a conversation with a lot of emotion involved.
“An 11-year-old was shot outside of this store two weeks ago, and other shootings in the area that have had residents reach out to us and ask us to come out to the community and address,” Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson said, adding, “We want to get answers, we want to look at recommendations, and most importantly, solutions.”READ MORE: What We Know And Don't Know About The Omicron Variant
That shooting from September 30 saw an 11-year-old hit by gunfire on Elmwood Avenue. The child, along with a 46-year-old man also injured, was in a car at the time of the shooting. Police released surveillance video from that night, showing two men firing off several shots.
Talk of the child brought forth a lot of emotion inside the church, with one woman in the back yelling with her own child beside her. While leaders are focusing on the store’s relationship in the violence, some residents are adamant the pressure needs to be somewhere else
“I live right there. Do you know how many times I’ve had to hit the deck and roll out of my bedroom to the floor? I can’t have my window open,” one resident said when given the microphone. “This is not a Stop & Go thing, that’s wrong. It’s a daycare, it’s an overnight thing.”
“It’s never been a Stop & Go thing,” she emphasized as the crowd clapped.MORE NEWS: Shopping Online This Holiday Season? Why You Need To Protect Yourself
Authorities encourage residents to file a report on possible nuisance businesses to help shut them down.