'Lack of hope': Experts explain the rise of youth-oriented violence in Philadelphia

As more information comes to light regarding the Roxborough High School shooting, one thing is certain and that is too many kids are getting involved in crime across the area.

One of the victims from that shooting had a connection to a carjacking case and kids as young as 14 keep getting arrested.

"The biggest thing is the lack of hope. They’re more afraid of living then they are to die,"


As Philadelphia approaches the staggering number of 1,000 murders in just two years, residents who grew up and live in the neighborhoods are trying to fight back against the unprecedented violence.

Philadelphia police, earlier this year, flagged a disturbing trend – young people are increasingly becoming both the victim and the perpetrators in the crimes.

"Your prefrontal cortex, your frontal lobe, doesn’t develop until you’re 25 and that’s your decision-making tool," Taj Murdock explained.

Murdock is the founder of Men of Courage, a non-profit aimed at helping 12 to 18-year-old young men find a purpose.

Murdock himself was once a juvenile in jail. He credits his corrected path in life to a mentor, something he says is sorely lacking in today’s neighborhoods. "You got a clear, psychological diagram of an anger iceberg. Anger is what you see above the water. Below that is all these other emotions going on and young, Black men aren’t given tools or the social and emotional intelligence to deal with their feelings."

Shaka Johnson is a defense attorney in Philadelphia and a former police officer. He works directly with many of juvenile offenders. He says many of the youth desperately lack positive influences in their home. He’s often the first one to teach them about right or wrong.

"That’s usually the first time they’ve heard someone tell them that their thinking isn’t proper or their behavior isn’t correct. So, I think this goes back a step to home," Johnson explained.

Saturday evening, a large group of juveniles ransacked a Mayfair Wawa. Police even held a press conference to address the community’s frustration over it.

Quiana Montgomery is a local leader and founder of the non-profit Q Essentials.

"The question for Wawa was, where are the parents at? There’s no parental guidance," Montgomery remarked.