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Philadelphia Police, Community Groups Hold Day-Long Camp In Fairmount Focused On Ending Youth Violence

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Putting an end to youth violence. That was the focus of a day-long camp hosted by the Philadelphia Police Department and other community groups.

Basketball is synonymous with Philadelphia, but as of late, so is violence.

"I love my city, but no, I don't feel safe," 17-year-old Alyssa Heiser said. "I don't feel safe sitting in a car or standing on a corner. No."

Alyssa took part in a day-long violence prevention day camp at Ben Franklin High School. The camp was hosted by the Philadelphia Police Department and the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. Topics included self-defense and de-escalation.

"A lot of people should realize that there's too much violence going on," 17-year-old Nasir Witherspoon said. "Too many people are dying out here for real for that that to be a regular thing in life."

While all the youth here are involved in the criminal justice system to some degree, the idea is that they take what they learned today and apply it to future decision-making.

"My hope is that at least one individual says you know what, I want to do better," Phi Beta Sigma International President Chris Rey said.

The participants are between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. In addition to playing basketball with law enforcement, they heard directly from them about leading better lives.

"There's no easy fix to it. No one has an easy solution to it, but one of the things we got to do is we've got to get to our kids," Judge Carl Walker said. "I have always believed we've got to get to them as early as possible."

For the youth Eyewitness News spoke with, it appears to be working.

"I learned that getting an actual career and stop being in the streets is a better choice in life," Nasir said.

"I honestly feel like this happened so God could change my life because I already feel change happening," Alyssa said.

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