PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –As Philadelphia’s homicide rate outpaces this time last year, activists are reacting to the rising numbers and they are calling for peace. On Saturday, they marched down Baltimore Avenue to Cobbs Creek Park.
The Commandoes Drill and Drum team led the march for peace as they made their way towards the Tyhir Barnes Anti-Gun Violence Memorial Basketball Classic.READ MORE: 2nd Street Festival Bringing Beer Gardens, Food Trucks, And Live Music To Northern Liberties For 1st Time In 2 Years
“I just say, ‘Put the guns down,’” Tanisha Pratt-Thomas said. “Just put the guns down, it’s heartbreaking for parents to lose their child.”
For Pratt-Thomas, it’s personal. On Saturday, her son would be 21 years old.
“Tyhir was 15 when he was killed, and it just seems that these kids are getting younger and younger,” she said.
Philadelphia has now reported at least 326 homicides, that’s four more than this time last year, which was the deadliest year on record for the city.
Police say 10% of the victims are younger than 18.CBS3 Pet Project: Do Dogs Get Jealous? What You Should Know Ahead Of National Spoil You Dog Day
“It’s so sad, it’s really sad, but that’s why these kind of events are important,” Terrilynn Donnell said. “It takes all of us.”
The Klutch Kings Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club pulled into the event Saturday, helping to serve as mentors and helping provide other outlets for children.
“We just want to do our part not only when we’re working for the city, but also in our off time, trying to mitigate some of this gun violence,” Sergio Diggs, of the Philadelphia Police Department, said.
As the crime numbers rise, community members are trying to spread the word about safe spaces and other outlets for children.
And Pratt-Thomas is encouraging parents to step up, to help curb the violence and so they don’t have to endure her pain.
“Check your kid’s room, put the guns down,” Pratt-Thomas said. “All I ask for is peace. It has to stop and it starts with the parents.”MORE NEWS: 9 Wounded In Shooting Outside Cincinnati Bar, Police Say
For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.