Philadelphia CeaseFire has a new tool in the fight against gun violence: a converted 1995 Winnebago that reads: “Stop. Shooting. People.” The vehicle is intended to “show residents and those just driving by that we’re really out here, on the streets, working toward a reduction in youth violence,” said program director Marla Davis Bellamy.
The group, part of a nationwide intervention and outreach program for 14- to 25-year-olds to reduce shootings and homicides, is a product of Temple University’s Center for Bioethics, Urban Health and Policy.
“According to the Philadelphia Police Department’s 2013 homicide report, 32 percent of homicide victims that year – 79 out of 247 – were between the ages of 18 and 24, the highest of any age group,” writes The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Joe Dolinsky.
Many of Philadelphia CeaseFire’s thirteen outreach workers are ex-offenders, and one participant, Chris Baylis, credits the program with leading him on a new path.
“Drugs, guns . . . that’s all I knew. For a lot of these guys, that’s all they knew. But they [Philadelphia CeaseFire] showed me a different way.”
Philadelphia CeaseFire is unaffiliated with CeaseFirePennsylvania, but the two groups are often partners in their efforts to fight gun violence.