With our first issue of the school year, The Temple News is launching a year-long project to track shootings and the impact of gun violence in the surrounding North Philadelphia community.
Our goal is to create awareness and humanize everyone affected by gun violence — victims and their family members, witnesses and shooters — because the scope of its impact is vast.
Based on the data we’ve collected, there have been 514 shootings resulting in 21 deaths in the five police districts around Temple since April 1. That’s an average of 100 fewer shootings than during the same months in 2016 or 2015.
Not every shooting makes its way into a TU Alert, but its effect still invades the lives of North Philadelphia residents. Gun violence can impact everything from the presence of businesses in a neighborhood to children’s performance in school.
“It wears on your psyche,” said Marla Davis Bellamy, the program director for Philadelphia CeaseFire — an anti-gun violence organization that focuses on prevention in high-risk areas of North Philadelphia. “Violence becomes the norm. It may not be the norm for you or I, to our neighborhoods. But if you think about it, there are neighborhoods that may [have a shooting] every night.”
This is why we think gun violence deserves our attention. In April, after mapping gun violence around Temple for a full year, The Temple News will produce a longform story about its impacts in our community and what’s being done to make a difference.
The Temple News will continue to report on gun violence and build its database until April 1, 2018, tracking shootings through most of the academic year. If you have a story about how you or someone you know has been affected by or involved in gun violence, email firstname.lastname@example.org.