Gang violence worries residents

January 24, 2008 9:01:38 PM PST
The subject of school violence topped the agenda at an emotional meeting in Southwest Philadelphia.

"I don't feel safe coming out of my house. I should not feel like that," said one student.

Almost two hundred students and parents converged on Bartram High School to tell police about the increasingly dangerous atmosphere stemming from members of the Crips and Bloods youth gangs.

Thirteen-year-old Vincent James was attacked just outside the 12th District police station two days ago by members of the Bloods gang because they thought his cousin was being disrespectful for wearing a blue hoodie, a color associated with their rivals, the Crips.

Police say they have been monitoring the youths involved in gang activity.

"We know who a whole lot of them are now. We have to catch them doing something wrong. Being a member of a gang isn't sufficient to lock them up," said Capt. Daniel McDonald of Philadelphia Police.

But some parents claim some officers have been unresponsive to their concerns. Others were alarmed that James was jumped just outside the police district.