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Weekly Brief on Gun Violence Prevention in Philadelphia

Weekly Brief on Gun Violence Prevention in Philadelphia
Each Wednesday morning we share news, research, data, opinions and community responses related to gun violence and prevention in Philadelphia.

Now streaming on our home page: Numb to Normalcy
Now streaming on our home page: Numb to Normalcy
Online premiere
• “Numb to Normalcy: Gun Violence in America” is the next documentary produced with support from the Credible Messenger Reporting Project and is now streaming in its entirety on our home page for the first time. The producers hosted an in-person screening last week at the Community Education Center in West Philadelphia. []
Year in review
Reflecting on 2021: Our first full year at the Center. We have now organized our work into three closely-aligned programs, with bigger plans for the new year. [WeDidIt]
Students getting shot
• The spike in young Philadelphia shooting victims has the staff at the school district’s Juvenile Justice Services Center School calling for help. A School District of Philadelphia chart published last spring shows 753 shooting victims enrolled. [Chalkbeat/SDP via ogle Drive]
Christmas-Kwanzaa Ceasefire
• Partners in Peace are calling a new ceasefire for the Christmas-Kwanzaa holiday period, covering North, Northwest, West, and Southwest Philadelphia as well as Kensington. [Partners in Peace via Instagram]
Help with healing
• More than a dozen clinicians planned a gathering last weekend to provide free support to teens who have been traumatized by gun violence in Philadelphia. [6ABC]
Mark your calendars
• This will be Nakisha Billa’s first Christmas without her son Domonic Billa, 21, who was shot and killed last March. This Saturday, she will be hosting a Christmas Dinner for Grieving Siblings of other shooting victims. [The Philadelphia Inquirer/Eventbrite]
• The Blackwell Culture Alliance is holding another meeting Thursday in Southwest Philadelphia, calling everyone out to discuss solutions to gun violence. [Blackwell Culture Alliance via Instagram]
• The next city briefing on gun violence in Philadelphia is scheduled to take place tomorrow at 1 p.m. Listen live on WURD Radio 900AM/96.1FM or watch live online. [Facebook]
Critical conversations
• PA State Senator Sharif Street says there are things we can do right now to prevent gun violence in Philadelphia. He is also asking for $1 billion to be allocated across Pennsylvania to help grassroots programs and organizations working to prevent gun violence. [6ABC/Pennsylvania Capital-Star]
• The bipartisan Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Caucus is aiming to work across ideological divisions to make neighborhoods safer. [NBC10]
• The Penn Injury Science Center is delving deeper into the science behind stopping the violence. Organizers said last week’s candid conversation was just the beginning of an urgent, collaborative call to action. [CBS3]
Survivor stories
The city published an update yesterday, outlining their approach to addressing Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis. []
Gun supply
• Firearms are primarily being diverted into Philadelphia from elsewhere in Pennsylvania but a significant amount are trafficked from other states, including many via straw purchasers. [Fox29]
• Philadelphia Police may be close to launching a new non-fatal shooting unit with 40 detectives working collaboratively with others in the homicide division. [CBS Philly]
By the numbers
• This week’s Philadelphia Police citywide major crimes report shows 47 people shot during the seven-day period ending Sunday, up from 37 during the previous week and bringing the year-to-date total to 2,246 shooting victims in the city, up 3.5 percent vs. 2020. [Philadelphia Police via Google Drive]
• Philadelphia Police are now reporting 544 total homicides in Philadelphia this year-to-date, up 14 percent from last year’s pace. []
• Last Wednesday: 10 people were shot within the span of about seven hours in Philadelphia and at least three died. Victim ages ranged from 13 to 67. [Open Data Philly via @pcgvr]
Heating up
• City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier say the city hasn’t rolled out some of its new anti-violence programs or expanded existing ones quickly enough. A statement from the mayor’s office said he “firmly rejects and is deeply offended by the notion.” [The Philadelphia Inquirer/The Philadelphia Tribune]
New resource
• The first of two new curfew centers opened Monday night as part of Philadelphia’s effort to reduce teen violence in the city. [CBS3]
“The cure to this disease is challenging misinformation and rectifying our national conversation. The responsibility for doing so is shared by all levels of government, the media, law-abiding gun owners, and citizens everywhere.” - Swarthmore College student Oliver Hicks via The Philadelphia Inquirer
• Philadelphia filmmaker Shameka S.L. Sawyer was not satisfied with how her brother’s murder was covered in the news and now she’s helping young people take control of their loved ones’ stories. [KYW Flashpoint via @pcgvr/Bout Mine - I Matter Project from 5 Shorts via Facebook]
Seeking solutions
• Last month, FOX29 launched the “Save our Streets” initiative, exploring “solutions to help make Philadelphia and the surrounding areas safer.” They kicked off the effort with a special report and this week they interviewed local emergency room nurse Ruqiyya Greer. [Fox29/Fox29/Fox29]
New analysis
• Gun deaths claimed the lives of more than 45,000 Americans during 2020, the highest level ever recorded. The increase was driven almost exclusively by guns. [CDC data analyzed by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence]
Lost opportunity
• Along with the Build Back Better Act: $5B in federal funding for community-led violence prevention looks to be off the table. [The Trace]
School threats
• More than 150 threats surfaced nationwide in just the week following the Michigan school shooting late last month. More followed a TikTok challenge last week. [The Washington Post]
• An estimated 7.5 million adults in the U.S. became new gun owners during the 14 months beginning January 1, 2019, collectively exposing more than 11 million other people to household firearms, including more than five million children. [Annals of Internal Medicine]
Solution of the Week
• A free-market system to improve safety could be easily implemented for guns. Every gun would need to be insured. Insurers could give discounts for things that make guns safer, like trigger locks, just as they do for safety features in cars, like airbags. [Yahoo News]
In memoriam
Latoya Wright, 37, mother of four who had a gigantic personality
With Love: Nakisha Billa to Domonic Billa. []
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The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting

Reporting on gun violence comes with exceptional challenges, responsibilities and opportunities. The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting wants to help.

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