PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police say a new age turf war on social media is spilling into South Philadelphia neighborhoods, putting families in the crossfire. Police attribute a number of shootings to teenagers with guns who are shooting indiscriminately.
On a picturesque Friday evening, Dickinson Square Park in South Philadelphia was packed with families, dog walkers and neighbors enjoying the weather.
“It’s nice to have a park for the children,” South Philly resident Denise Johnson said.
But in the back of everyone’s mind is safety because police say two shootings involving teenagers in the past week alone have rocked this neighborhood.
“We have noticed recently an uptick in gun violence,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said. “One on Monday, where a young man was shot in the area of 4th and Dickinson (Streets).”
The second was early Thursday morning. Multiple casings were found, but fortunately, in this case, no one was injured.
“I know there has been an indication of maybe a turf war,” Kinebrew said. “We do believe it’s related to some sort of rivalry between groups that congregate or hang in the area.”
Kinebrew says the beef may be fueled by social media.
“Once I post it and other people share it, then now you got, in your mind, the whole world picking on you, disrespecting you,” he said. “And then you and your friends now want to get on social media and respond and it goes up from there. A lot of times it becomes a game of chicken. Who’s going to blink first?”
“I know the neighborhood. I always feel safe and comfortable,” Johnson said, “but unfortunately, you always have the bad apples.”
“It’s definitely scary,” a South Philadelphia man said. “We come here a lot, almost every day.”
So now neighbors are on edge as police are stepping up patrols in the neighborhood.
Everyone is hoping the fighting and shootings will simply stop.
“We definitely have to get a handle on this before we have any more tragic outcomes,” Kinebrew said.
On Tuesday, Kinebrew held a community meeting in the 3rd District, telling neighbors he’s deploying more bicycles and patrol officers to the area.
No arrests have been made in either shooting.