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West Philadelphia on Oct. 8. 

Credit: Avi Singh

Several Philadelphia-based organizations including the Penn Injury Science Center have partnered to address a rise in gun violence in West and Southwest Philadelphia.

The collaboration, called the West/Southwest Collaborative Response to Gun Violence or the WSW Collaborative, is operating out of the Anti-Violence Partnership of Philadelphia office at 56th and Chestnut Streets. It was created in October 2021 through a partnership between the AVP, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the Beloved Care Project, and PISC, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

A surge in shootings over the last year has left law enforcement with inadequate resources to combat gun violence and overburdened organizations that give assistance to the victims and families of gun violence, 6abc reported.

The WSW Collaborative was created to combat the dramatic increase in gun violence and its impact on citizens, according to the AVP.

“It allows each of our organizations to work in close collaboration to complement services, align programmatic activities and maximize responses to the immediate individual and community needs of our surrounding neighborhoods,” Natasha Danielá de Lima McGlynn, the executive director at the AVP, told Metro Philadelphia.  

The PISC is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and works “to reduce injuries, violence and their impact on people around the world,” according to their website. Researchers at the center will advise, monitor, and evaluate the impact of the program, the Inquirer reported. 

“I am fed up with the unacceptable and escalating violence. But I’m also fed up that there’s not a better bridge between research, what we know and practice to be implemented and adapted to the context of the community,” PISC Deputy Director Sarah Solomon told the DA's office.

Within the Philadelphia DA’s Office, the Crisis Assistance, Response, and Engagement for Survivors Unit — commonly known as the CARES Unit — aims to provide support to victims in the aftermath of homicide, according to the press release.

Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, who represents parts of West and Southwest Philadelphia, expressed hopes that the WSW Collaborative will bring tangible, positive changes to the lives of her Philadelphian constituents.

“Gun violence is a crisis that’s not going to go away on its own,” Gauthier said at a press conference. “It’s not just a matter of policing and putting more people in prison. It’s about understanding the needs of the community, about understanding the scarcity within our neighborhoods and what people resort to when they feel like no one has a stake in their future and ensuring that they thrive.”