The Philadelphia City Council held a hearing on the problem of gun violence on Monday morning as the city has seen nearly 500 deaths so far this year – 99 of those victims have died.
The City Hall hearing focused specifically on violence involving youth.
Councilman Jamie Gauthier kicked off the hearing by talking about spending time in the emergency room to calm the family down after a recreation center worker was shot dead last September.
“As a mother of two black children, I am deeply concerned about the growing number of young people who are becoming embroiled in an epidemic of violence,” Gauthier said. “The number of shooting victims under the age of 18 has increased steadily since 2015, from 6.3% to 9.6%. Meanwhile, the percentage of youth arrested for gun violence has tripled between 2017 and 2022.”
Once youth are engaged in the criminal justice system, Gauthier said, the city needs to do more to prevent future outbreaks of violence.
“Young people convicted of gun-related offenses are not getting real support out of the legal system or treatment of rehabilitation and accountability,” said Kendra VandeWater of the group. Yes Philly. “The core programs focus only on punishment, and the same people cycle in and out.”