This week, city officials unveiled plans to address the recent teen violence that has outraged and horrified residents of Philadelphia. In Center City, where many attacks took place, anyone under 18 are now subject to a 9 p.m. curfew on weekends. Twenty of the city's largest recreation centers will be open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in an effort to give teenagers places to go. In Center City and University City, police are being deployed in large numbers.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has said he is open to any suggestions as to how the city should respond to these youth rampages. Community leaders are begging parents to join them in helping stamp out the problem, but Ramsey has said that the teenagers themselves "know what they're doing" and should be held personally responsible. Greg Bucceroni, coordinator for crime and victim services for Philadelphia's Youth Violence & Crime Reduction partnership, echoed that sentiment in a letter to the Inquirer this week.
"Community based outreach and intervention services have always worked in reducing the city's youth-related crimes, but the heart of this problem is best reduced when the troubled at-risk youth make a choice not to involve themselves in violence and other crime," he wrote. "Michael Jackson's song 'Man in the Mirror' said positive change first starts with your reflection, and starts from within. The at-risk youth must hold themselves accountable for right and wrong choices - only then can they move forward in making the world a better place for themselves, their family and their community."
The list of rec centers offering extended hours is here.