November 12, 2018, Bobby Allyn - WHYY
More than one out of every 10 gunshot victims in Philadelphia is a teenager. Each year, that translates into about 150 teens wounded by gunfire. And on average, about two dozen of them die from those injuries.
City records obtained from the Philadelphia Police Department show that the grim toll of gun violence on teens has budged up and down incrementally, but the numbers have stayed stubbornly in the same range for years.
Teenagers in Philadelphia face a greater risk of being shot than Boston’s youth. Minors are twice as likely to be shot in Philadelphia than in Baltimore, records show. Of the city statistics reviewed by WHYY, only Chicago — where roughly a quarter of all gunshot victims each year are 19 or younger — was more dangerous for teens.
Philadelphia spends tens of millions of dollars a year on anti-violence efforts, yet statistics from the police department’s research and analysis unit show no program or initiative has successfully shielded teens from a gun violence rate that has remained virtually unchanged since 2015.
“It does keep me awake at night,” Police Commissioner Richard Ross said at police headquarters recently. “Most of these victims have not had a chance to live their lives. They’re younger than you and I. It’s got to stop.”