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Philadelphia Leaders Continue To Sound Alarm On Growing Trend Of Gun Violence In City

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- City leaders are raising the alarm on the growing trend of gun violence, a trend that's already taken the lives of more than 60 young people this year. They are calling for action from fellow leaders and community members.

Last year was the deadliest Philadelphia has seen in decades. Right now, the city is projected to surpass that number if homicides continue at the current rate.

Saturday's rally was a call to action.

In front of the Francis Myers Recreation Center in Southwest Philadelphia, Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, chairman of the special committee on gun violence prevention, organized the Peace Not Guns Call-To-Action rally.

Seventeen-year-old Kyeir Pickens was shot and killed while playing basketball outside the rec center last Friday.

Johnson is requesting updated security cameras outside rec centers in the Second District and wants the Philadelphia Police Department to maintain a constant presence around rec centers throughout the city until at least September.

Johnson says the special committee's new partnership with community groups aims to provide services for youth at rec centers in his district.

This is a first in a series of community conversations that Johnson plans to hold where residents can share suggestions on ways to increase peace in Philadelphia.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says officers will be more visible in areas plagued by gun violence.

"High visibility in a lot of our troubled areas," Outlaw said. "Not only in our vehicles but out on foot, out on bicycle and specifically again our locations where we know, we expect to see large gatherings of people."

Johnson says this series of conversations between now and September will help form his public safety requests for the upcoming 2021 operating budget.

For a list of gun violence resources in Philadelphia, click here.

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