PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Following the Fourth of July shooting on the Ben Franklin Parkway, tourism officials are questioning how much the city can take before people no longer want to visit Philadelphia.
“We’re not going to crawl into a shell and hide away from the United States of America,” one tourist said. “It’s a great country and we want to go see it.”
Tourists at the famed Rocky Steps say they’re not frazzled by Philadelphia’s ongoing gun violence.
“You can’t let a couple of bad eggs just ruin a city,” Emilio Locilento, who’s visiting from Boston, said. “I come from far away and plenty of things happen all over the world, and I can’t judge those cities. I can’t.”
Photographer HughE Dillon was in the crowd Monday night watching the fireworks. He also lives steps away from where the shooting occurred. He says the police’s response makes him feel more secure.
“The fact that they were able to evacuate the Parkway so quickly that way makes me feel very confident for the future, for our future events,” Dillon said.
While tourists and some residents say they are undeterred by the city’s violence, leaders say that this could impact the city’s ability to attract business.
“COVID-19 has become a distant memory and public safety is our new issue,” said Ed Grose, president of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association.
Grose says when events like the Parkway shooting happens, it gives the city a black eye.
“Safety for both visitors and residents needs to be the reality and expectation,” Grose said. “We cannot continue to do what we’re doing and expect different results.”
At the Dell Music Center, they’re preparing to host a Gladys Knight concert this week. They say they increased their security following the Las Vegas mass shooting. Among other measures, they now have metal detectors and check bags.
“Can we prevent everything? Absolutely not, but what we’re trying to do is make sure we have eyes and ears in those places where there could possibly be a problem,” Susan Slawson, general manager of the Dell Music Center, said.
The city says anyone who was at the Parkway and left behind personal belongings can email firstname.lastname@example.org to reclaim them.