Theron Pride, Senior Director, Office of Violence Prevention
As we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, we also need every Philadelphian to join us in the fight to stop gun violence. Both of these challenges pose a serious risk to public health and public safety in our neighborhoods. And leave many residents feeling isolated and fearful about interacting with others. The spread of COVID-19 and the threat of gun violence have also made our public spaces, once safe and enjoyable for so many of us, either too risky to visit or completely off limits.
We are living in very challenging times. But we are not powerless.
Similar to how we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home and social distancing, there are practical actions we can take to prevent gun violence. And now more than ever, we need to stop this senseless violence, so every resource across the City is available to fight COVID-19.
Here are a few actions you can take:
Reach out for help.
Remember: you are not alone. If you or someone you know needs help finding alternatives to violence, call the Community Crisis Intervention Program (CCIP) at (215) 800-4611. CCIP responds to neighborhood crises with mediation and resources and a willingness to support anyone looking for a peaceful solution.
Share what you know.
If you see something, say something. Submit a tip to the Philadelphia Police Department by phone at (215) 686-TIPS (8477) or by email email@example.com. You can submit a tip anonymously and no information is too small. And your tip could save a life
Keep Philly clean.
We know crime follows grime. Report illegal dumping and support the Don’t Trash Philly campaign. Doing your part to keep our streets and neighborhoods clean helps our efforts to reduce blight, which is a proven way to reduce gun violence.
Focus on healing.
Healed people can heal people. If you suffer from toxic stress, depression, anxiety or substance use, take the time to seek help by calling Community Behavioral Health’s Member Services at 888-545-2600 (a 24/7 helpline). Or, promote healing in your community by joining the conversation #OurWordsHeal.
If you think that your relationship is abusive (or you feel scared of your partner), or if you think someone you know is being abused, call the 24-hour Philadelphia domestic violence hotline at (866) 723-3014. If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. If you cannot safely call or reach out for help online, call a person you trust to make the call.
Safely store all firearms.
If you own a firearm, store it unloaded, lock and separate from ammunition. And promptly report a lost or stolen firearm to the Philadelphia Police Department. The safest home is a home without a gun. But keeping firearms safely stored and reporting missing firearms will help keep our families, friends and neighbors safer.
Advocate for laws against illegal guns.
Make sure your voice is heard. Our state and federal legislators have the power to keep us and police safer. Be sure to contact your representatives and share your opinion on legislation that would help prevent gun violence and save lives.
By staying at home, washing our hands frequently, and social distancing we can slow the spread of COVID-19 and help our health professionals who are battling this pandemic every day save lives. And by acting now to help us stop gun violence, you can help our health professionals — save even more lives. So, let’s get to work.