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Left: Shootings per 1,000 residents; Right: Percent households living below the federal poverty linePHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Left: Shootings per 1,000 residents; Right: Percent households living below the federal poverty line. Photo: PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE 

Philadelphia District Attorney's Office publishes map comparing poverty rates to gun violence occurrence in the city

Violence spikes as poverty does and the coronavirus pandemic has nourished an already bad situation.

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Philadelphia continues to see rising violence during the pandemic, with a 50% jump in shootings compared to 2019. 

However, it is not just an issue in the city as gun violence has risen across the nation. 

Other cities including New York and Chicago have both seen a spike in shootings as well as Kansas City, MO. according to NPR.

In addition to the rate of gun violence, what is most significant about the City of Brotherly Love, is the not so lovely rate of poverty. 

In 2019, 24.5% of households lived below the poverty line, which equals to almost 380,000 Philadelphians.

On Monday Aug. 16, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office released an interactive map that illuminates the relationship between poverty, income inequality, and gun violence.

The gun violence committee in City Council has been meeting virtually to analyze the situation and come up with solutions. Community groups are encouraging citizens to talk about what is going on in their neighborhood as part of the city’s new “Group Violence Intervention” plan.

The efforts to reduce violence do not end there. 

A new project called Credible Messenger Reporting recruits and trains those in the community to create stories about their experiences with gun violence as well as “identifying its root causes and potential solutions.” 

Part of the immediate action is because of the serious spike in crime since the pandemic began and the poverty in the city grew. To date, killings are also at a 30% increase from last year. 

Currently, over 250 people have died to a gunshot in 2020. 

The Deputy Managing Director Vanessa Garrett Harley told NBC Philadelphia that the pandemic had affected some of the violence prevention techniques. 

“Being in line with guidelines with the CDC and the state makes this work much more difficult. Having to be six feet from somebody, their work has had to adjust for safety for themselves and for the community members. You’re not going inside anybody’s house right now, and you have to be very careful with what you’re saying in these very private conversations,” she said.

However, Harley said they are coming up with different ways to go back out into the neighborhoods.

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