PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As Philadelphia braces to record its 500th homicide victim this year, one local group is calling for a four-day Thanksgiving truce to end the violence in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods.
Wednesday at noon, Philly Truce will host a kick-off event for a four-day program where citizens become the eyes and ears. The goal is to help stop the violence before it starts.READ MORE: Temple University Students Gather To Honor Students Killed, Call For Safety Changes
“It’s a time of family, it’s a time of getting together. We want to have peace,” Philly Truce app co-founder Mazzie Casher said.
As the city braces for a second consecutive year of record-setting homicides, the creators of the app Philly Truce, an anonymous platform to alert trained mediators about conflicts likely to escalate, are mobilizing citizens to help combat a time often ripe with violence.
“Last year during the Thanksgiving weekend, there were 59 shootings and 10 homicides,” Casher said.
They’re calling for a four-day community-based patrol where volunteers sign up to monitor crime-prone streets.
“We have professional security experts, we have logistic planners who will essentially walk you through how to canvas and patrol your neighborhood peacefully,” Casher said.
They’re starting in West Philadelphia and need volunteers to take action.READ MORE: Quadruple Shooting In Brewerytown Sends 4 Males, Including Teen, To Hospital: Police
“These are our children. We can’t be pointing fingers downtown,” Casher said.
They’re also leaning on local community organizations and the city’s Commission on Human Relations to foster conversation instead of conflict.
“I bet you if you give yourself 15 minutes to cool off this doesn’t make sense,” Casher said.
Their #ZeroNow speaks to their goal — a homicide and heartbreak-free holiday.
“We just say this stuff — 500 bodies, 500 homicides — how many people cry when that one body falls?” Casher said.
Philly Truce App’s kick-off event begins Wednesday at noon at Clara Muhammed Square in West Philadelphia.
Organizers also say they hope to expand this program to canvas more neighborhoods over the Christmas holiday weekend.MORE NEWS: 13 Philadelphia Police Officers On Administrative Duty Over Gun Arrest Discrepancies
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.