SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - Members of a South Philadelphia neighborhood gathered Thursday night, as they have for three nights in a row, in an effort to counter a problem they say is becoming routine: a group of young people on bicycles causing big problems.
They came across a video showing one such melee Sunday night, and believe the video alone should prompt a stronger police presence.
The grainy video shows a group of young people hanging around outside Sharswood School near 2nd and Ritner streets on Sunday evening.
In the video, the kids appear to be fooling around at first, but then neighbors said the group started throwing rocks. They believe a man got hit by one of the rocks and then came over to confront the group.
The kids started heckling him, and at one point one young person slapped the man in the back of the head. This went on for a while.
Neighbors complain of teens wreaking havoc in South Phila.
"This hasn't been the first incident," said Anthony Massaro, a resident of the area. "They've attacked the elderly. They've attacked children. They've been a huge issue for the neighborhood."
Massaro lives down the street. He came across the surveillance video while trying to figure out how his car window got broken. He said neighbors had been concerned about these kids on bikes causing problems for a while. The video, he believes, provides proof of what's going on.
"The neighborhood feels terrorized by these kids," he said.
Other neighbors said they've witnessed similar attacks, as well as general troublemaking, like harassing passing motorists.
"They did it to one lady and she had to stop because she had a baby in the back," said Eleanor, who also lives in the neighborhood.
She said the woman hollered at them and then the kids cursed at her and spit all over the car before taking off.
Since Sunday, neighbors have been organizing rallies each night with a call to bring back order and bring in extra police. Massaro said the man who was harassed in the video has joined the effort.
"People have been showing up, showing their support," he said. "The man who was actually in question showed up at these rallies. He's in full support of this as well."
Police said they are aware of the incident and are responding to it.
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