Cities work to keep kids safe during summer months
(NewsNation) — When the temperature goes up, so does the homicide rate. May, June, July and August become the deadliest months of the year. And with gun violence already at an all-time high in cities across the country, the focus this summer is all about keeping communities safe and young people alive.
According to key statistics by the Brady Center to prevent gun violence, every day 22 children between 1 to 17 years old are shot in America. Among those, five die from gun violence and three are murdered.
In Philadelphia where close to 100 children have been shot so far this year, city officials are working to give young people safe havens.
Free summer camps are available, there are more than 8,000 summer jobs for kids 12 years old and older and they’re expanding hours at community centers.
The more time kids are off the streets, the better chance they have of surviving the summer.
Mayors across the country worried the lack of recreation for young people could put them in harm’s way.
“Children are dying on the streets of our cities, our state and our country like never before,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther of Columbus, Ohio.
A staffing shortage is forcing some camps to cancel programs and others to reduce to their hours, threatening the availability for recreation for kids. In an effort to keep staff, some camp organizations are even increasing pay.
This summer, Planet Fitness, one of the country’s largest fitness center chains, is giving teenagers a free summer membership. The program allows teens 14 to 19 years old to work out at no charge all summer.
“People are dying on our streets. They’re dying in our schools, grocery stores, and it’s our sworn duty to take action to prevent that,” said Mayor Aftab Pureval of Cincinnati, Ohio.
In Chicago, city officials have implemented a curfew for minors. Anyone younger than 12 has to be home by 8:30 p.m. during the week and 9 p.m. during the weekend.
The timing is intentional and strategic because most violent crimes happens after midnight, and guns are now the leading cause of death for children in America.
Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker signed a new law that will cover up to $10,000 in funeral expenses for families that lose their children to gun violence.