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Children playing on Locust Walk on April 18, 2021. Credit: Maya Pratt

This summer, Philadelphia officials seek to provide children with safe summer activities under the "PlayItSafePHL" initiative.

PlayItSafePHL is a guide to safe summer activities — including summer camps, athletic leagues, science programs, and swimming lessons, according to WHYY.

Amid the ongoing gun violence crisis, Philadelphia officials want to give children access to safe summer activities. Gun violence rates tend to rise in the summer, and Philadelphia has recently seen gun violence directed at younger victims, including on “PlayStreets” and local basketball courts.

Philadelphia officials recommend that parents place their children in a summer activity to promote their development and facilitate learning during the summer.

This comes as the latest in a series of community-based efforts to decrease violence — after-school and summer program opportunities were part of a $155 million investment in 2021 focused on anti-violence strategies.

With the stated goal of ensuring safety, Philadelphia may implement police involvement to surveil areas surrounding activity centers, WHYY reported.

However, some citizens believe that police presence will not curtail shootings. Instead, some citizens have recommended that the city pay community members to monitor the summer programs in place of police officers, according to WHYY.

Many Philadelphia nonprofit organizations also offer summer programs, which have recently grown in popularity. Local nonprofit-run summer camps include those at the Morris Arboretum, a part of Penn’s campus.

Parents are more likely to send their children to these summer programs rather than the summer activities provided by the city, gun violence prevention advocate Jamal Johnson told WHYY.