Philadelphia police stepping up patrols at recreation centers

The Philadelphia Police Department is stepping up patrols at recreation centers as the gun violence continues to impact the city's youth.

As her son and nephew worked on their jump shots at the Kingsessing Rec Center Thursday, Gabby Utley sat courtside keeping a watchful eye. She is happy police are expanding security measures next week after a string of shootings at city rec centers. 

"It will make us feel a little safer, especially our children," Utley said.

Extra police are already in place near two Philly rec centers where teens have lost their lives in the past month.

Kahree Simmons, 16, was gunned down at the Christy Rec Center. A short distance away, a 17-year-old was murdered at the Myers Rece Center at 58th and Kingsessing. 

Just two nights ago, a 16-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy were shot near a rec center in Germantown. 

Starting next week, police say 120 rec centers will be open citywide. Patrols will be expanded on foot, on bikes, and in cars as police try to make these safe havens for kids.

The mayor cautions the expanded security measures and overtime come with a hefty price tag.

"We're looking for more police coverage and more police time. Time is money and we're going to have to pay for it somehow," Mayor Kenney said.

Still, with the warmer weather right around the corner, kids and parents are looking forward to better days ahead. 


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