Theresa Collins doesn’t own a gun; never fired one. Still, the 54-year-old widow is familiar with the pop of gunfire. Since January, 20 people have been shot to death within a half-mile of her house.
“I don’t know if there is a quick fix, because it didn’t develop overnight. But if you set up a gun-checking point on that corner, Ray Charles could see [the troublemakers] aren’t going to go down that street. Stevie Wonder could see it, too.”
As Philadelphia grapples with a spike in homicides that makes some neighborhoods feel like killing fields, police, politicians, community leaders and criminologists are looking at tactics used in other cities to confiscate illegal guns. Those tactics include dedicated task forces, and more use of the technique known as “stop-and-frisk.”
Across the city to the south, in Kingsessing, another homicide hot spot, video-shop clerk Marcus Kane, 22, chuckled knowingly when asked about the prevalence of gunfire.
“It’s like rain – happens once a week,” Kane said, speaking inside the Woodland Avenue shop just a block from the stretch of 60th Street where four people have been killed in drive-by and retaliation shootings since April.
Kane said he’d favor stop-and-frisk even if it meant law-abiding citizens sometimes had to put up with a few questions from police.
“If you’ve got nothing to be guilty about, you should have no problem. I would put up with that level of inconvenience to make the neighborhood safer,” he said.
INQUIRER: Assume The Position, Philadelphia