"Night Out" targets gun violence - Philadelphia News

August 5, 2008 8:57:04 PM PDT
The "National Night Out" event in Philadelphia's Parkside section started out like many others around the area, with dancing and entertainment for families coming together with one hope. "I wish they would just stop the violence."

Kim Jones of West Philadelphia knows first-hand the devastation of violence. The fathers of her grandchildren were gunned down in separate shootings, and the killers were never caught.

"So it's like a tragedy. We're here raising children without their fathers," she said.

"I have to watch my back wherever I'm going," said Vernon Wade of Southwest Philadelphia. "It's always good to watch your back and know your surroundings and be aware of your surroundings, with what's going on in the city nowadays."

Mayor Michael Nutter took the stage at several events Tuesday night. He says preventing and solving crimes is in large measure up to the community. The community working with police.

"Do not protect, do not provide comfort for those out there who might want to hurt you, and then say well I don't want to give up the information," the mayor said.

The mayor says the crime rate involving gun violence has actually dropped this year compared with the same time last year. He says homicides have dropped 23 to 24 percent, and shootings are down 19 to 20 percent. But serious work still lies ahead.

"It doesn't matter so much what the numbers are. What matters most is how people feel about their own neighborhoods, and their safety. And when people feel safe, then we know that we're doing our job."

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