Philadelphia police say that social media is a driver of gun violence in the city, WHYY radio reports. Deputy Police Commissioner Ben Naish said that in many homicide investigations, suspects can be seen bragging about their actions on social media, "like a trophy." Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw added that the juveniles committing violence are trending younger. She added, "These kids are looking for a sense of belonging, and we have to just find . . . outlets [for them]."
Outlaw says the lack of outlets and toxic social media environment is dangerous when coupled with youths' access to “instruments of harm." Officials said that violence interruption teams will start moving back into neighborhoods now that the pandemic has largely subsided. The city's Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice and Public Safety is beginning to host community events again, including community listening sessions and expungement clinics. Still, some community nonprofit groups that work to combat gun violence say that fundraising has been a challenge.