Informal group forms to stop gun violence in Harrisburg

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Dec 4, 2015 4:20 AM

(Harrisburg) -- After two recent murders in Harrisburg, people are uniting to press the community to do its part to prevent violence.

The informal group's leaders say this feels different than previous efforts.

For one, Jamillah London and Rafiqya Muhammad say there's a real sense of accountability.

Both say people at a recent meeting were calling out women who came alone, questioning why their child's father wasn't making an effort.

They hope that translates into more action, including a break in the silence that keeps people from reporting incidents to the police.

Muhammad says they challenged the crowd at the last meeting.

"Hopefully when they come back this Sunday, they did what we asked them to do, was to take a selfie, take a look at yourself, an everyday look and say that you're going to be a responsible person. We gotta start with self," says Muhammad.

"Cause it's like every two weeks it seems like now. If it's not every week, it's every two weeks that there's a murder. So it's getting more natural. Back in the day, you'd be shocked and surprised. It's like now, it's just who's next? It's so sad," adds London.

Another gathering is scheduled for Sunday at the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg.

In recent years, London and Muhammad both lost sons to gun violence, including one shot and killed by police.

But right now, they say parents need to hold their kids accountable, and the community must speak up when it sees trouble.

London and Muhammad say the business community needs to step up to slow the violence as well by providing more opportunities to get people off the street.

17 people have been killed in Harrisburg this year. 18 were killed in 2014.

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