PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eyewitness News learned the Philadelphia School District plans to pay community members to keep children safe on their way to and from school as the gun crisis continues. Both the young and old weighed in Thursday night and offered their own solutions, including the police commissioner and district attorney.
It was a packed house Thursday night as community members came together to help solve the gun violence crisis that’s plaguing the city. It was a call to action that received dozens of answers.
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HAPPENING NOW: There’s a good size crowd here at the Public Safety Solutions Meeting at MLK high school. People were asked to come with solutions to end gun violence. @PPDCommish also here. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/CqfSc6PnIz
— Jasmine Payoute (@jpayoute) October 28, 2021
“We said come tonight for solutions,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. “Solutions and this room is packed.”
State Rep. Stephen Kinsey organized the public safety meeting held at MLK High School Thursday night.
From Outlaw to District Attorney Larry Krasner, Kinsey says every level of government was in attendance to hear from residents.
“We need to go back to community style policing.” People are now presenting their solutions to gun violence. This gentlemen says he is a former police officer who has started his own anti violence organization. @CBSPhilly pic.twitter.com/3p3zey8IvR
— Jasmine Payoute (@jpayoute) October 29, 2021
“We need to return to the community-style policing and police officers need to be accountable to the community,” one man said.
The meeting comes just hours after the Philadelphia School District rolled out its safety plan to curb violence around corridors.READ MORE: How The New COVID-19 Variant Impacts Your Travel Plans
“There was a shootout near a school my friend goes to and I was worried about her safety,” Jhadae Sterling, a Parkway Northwest High School Student, said. “She was texting, ‘if something happens to you, I love you,’ and I was really scared and I just thought this needs to stop.”
The plan is meant to help and includes increasing police presence in high-risk high crime areas at the beginning and end of the school day, and using trained civilians to work around school perimeters.
“I agree with the idea of patrolling, but I’m not entirely sure that it should be with police,” another young girl said. “I think it should be with people that are already a part of the community.”
Joe Budd agrees. He’s with Men Who Care of Germantown and came to this meeting with a solution he says has already been proven.
“The goal is to build relationships and then we can bring resources,” Budd said.
While solutions won’t be immediate, the goal of the meeting was to maintain an ongoing dialogue between residents and elected officials.MORE NEWS: What We Know And Don't Know About The Omicron Variant
So far this year there have been more than 430 homicides.