Troi Torain, the former Star & Buc Wild radio show shock jock of Philadelphia was so incensed by violence in the black community that he launched the Start Snitching campaign last year. The program, aimed at getting residents to report gang activity, has achieved moderate success by using the Internet and anonymous tips to help tackle violence. Since mid-October, Torain has been using his @startsnitching Twitter account to inform followers about unsolved crimes in Philadelphia and around the nation.
“The Internet provides a better way for people, especially in small communities, to build a uniﬁed front to help with the apprehension of those committed to a lower standard of living,” says the former host of the morning show on Philly’s 100.3 FM “The Beat”. “Although some will argue that the message of the police to ‘protect and serve’ gets lost in translation, [as] people of color [we] have to hold ourselves responsible for the future of our children.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter has resolved to tackle the problem, too. During the inaugural address for his second term last January, he called crime in the black community a local and national epidemic that has not suﬃciently been talked about, much less tackled. He lamented that too many Philadelphians feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods.
Nutter urged residents to have an honest conversation about the things that are holding them back—including the economy and joblessness—and asks, “What are we prepared to do about them [as a community]?” The most sobering part of his speech was when he turned to the murder rate.
Of the 317 people who were murdered in Philadelphia last year, 83 percent were killed with a handgun, and nearly 75 percent of those were African-American men, he said. Also, about 80 percent of those accused of the crimes were African-American men.
One way to tackle Philadelphia’s crime problem is to add more police to the streets, Nutter says, explaining that there will be 120 new oﬃcers on foot patrol in time for summer. Additionally, he announced plans to build partnerships with the community through community policing.
“Working with mayors around the country and with leaders in our own community… we have started to develop strategic action plans to deal with the proliferation of illegal guns and the fact that people and their guns are wiping out an entire generation of African-American men and boys,” Nutter said during the address. “We are developing a new approach, which we will roll out in the coming months, to getting these illegal guns oﬀ our streets—targeting the people who have them, the people who are supplying them, and the neighborhoods that they’re operating in (ﬁve police districts account for almost 50 percent of the homicides in the city)—and working with our partners at all levels of government to go after them aggressively and relentlessly. Every day.”