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July 31, 2014, 9:34 am

Reducing violence in the 17th District

The recent outburst of gun violence in the 17th Police District underscores the urgent need for more police patrols in affected areas and the need to crackdown on drug gangs.

Gun violence last week in the 17th Police District included shootings that injured 13 people and killed two in the Grays Ferry and Point Breeze sections in South Philadelphia.

In one of the incidents in the 1200 block of South Bucknell Street, two children, ages 2 and 10 were among the victims of gun violence in the Point Breeze section. Among those wounded September 27 were Andrea Cooper, 59, and her two-year-old granddaughter, Aisha Cooper, who was wounded in the stomach and hand. At press time, Aisha remains in critical condition. A 10-year-old who was wounded in the incident was released from the hospital.

The incident started as a fight between young people and escalated.

The next night in the nearby Grays Ferry section, two shootings incidents led to gunfire killing two people and injuring two others. Investigators said they believe the two shooting incidents were related.

The shootings reveal the terror and sense of lawlessness that too many law-abiding citizens have to live with in some of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods.

Police said many of the incidents may be connected to drug gangs that are targeting rival groups as well as infighting among the gangs. Investigators also said gang members recently released from prison may be spurring the burst of gun violence.

Police said before the outburst of violence last week shootings were down from 59 last year, to 42 this year.

Community organizers said increased police patrols were effective in keeping violence down by helping to clear corners.

Officials said they would increase patrols in affected areas and will investigate gang activities in the affected areas. These efforts should help bring normalcy back.