Recently in my district, a 12-year-old was shot and killed, one week before his 13th birthday. This young man died a victim of senseless violence.
Recently in my district, a 12-year-old was shot and killed, one week before his 13th birthday. His name was Laron Williams. This young man died a victim of senseless violence, unable to live up to his God-given potential.
Unfortunately, tragedies like this have been far too common for communities across Philadelphia. That is why we must take action to save lives and bring an end to the gun violence plaguing our city.
In 2020, my office began researching what works to cut gun violence in big cities and listening to our neighbors and their concerns. We learned that interventions aimed at breaking the cycle of violence for shooters and those who have been shot are strategies that have the highest impact on reducing gun violence in high-crime areas.
This summer, using the research and insights we’ve gathered, my office launched Safe Summer 2023. Our strategy is to saturate high crime blocks with love by providing direct interventions and access to resources. Philadelphia CeaseFire, Community Capacity Development, Temple University, and many other organizations have come together in our Northwest Peace Plan coalition.
Our coalition is able to provide targeted intervention that pinpoints potential shooters and aims to break the cycle of violence they engage in.
Violence intervention does work if done effectively. The intervention approach used by Cure Violence and Philadelphia Ceasefire has the strongest evidence for curbing gun violence.
The Northwest Peace Plan seeks to reduce gun violence by 15%, saving 7 lives from death and shooting injury with immediate violence intervention in the highest northwest shooting areas. In Northwest Philadelphia, the two areas that have the highest level of shootings are near the intersection of Chew and Chelten Avenues and Germantown and Wister Avenues.
With proper help and funding, this intervention plan should yield positive results in the Northwest region and eventually the greater Philadelphia area.
I am happy to report that we have already seen a significant reduction in gun violence. Both shootings and fatalities for June and July of this year are down 50% compared to June and July 2022.
Our goal is to save lives. Hopelessness is a contagion we must combat. To save lives is to bring joy and aid to oppressed neighborhoods. Real hope is food. Real hope is job opportunities. Real hope is loving intervention. Real hope is bringing dignity to every single person. Real hope is love.
As we continue our ‘Saturate with Love’ strategy, we will work to produce positive results for our constituents and to foster similar intervention efforts in high crime blocks across Philadelphia. Only by working together can we usher in a future where the symphony of gunshots is replaced by the harmony of peaceful coexistence and our dignity is upheld with unwavering conviction.