Mobs Dangerous to Gayborhood

Violence is an unacceptable pastime no matter who it targets

The Gayborhood came dangerously close to being at the center of a mob attack on Friday night – yet another incidence of violence by a group of young people. No matter how many catchy tourism campaigns are launched, hotel deals offered, restaurants lauded and shops opening their doors, this sort of violence has the potential to ruin Philly’s reputation for the short and long haul.

This time, the marauding teens (and tweens!) – a group estimated to be between 20 and 40 people – began beating people and destroying property at several locations in Center City, including Walnut and Juniper, a half block from Sisters and one block from Woody’s – two of Philly’s largest LGBT nightclubs.

Facebook and other social media sites lit up on Friday night as news of the events spread. People who were nearby posted about the chaos and businesses and others in the area frantically called 911. By the time the violence quieted, several teens were arrested.

Mayor Nutter has since announced that he’s coming up with a plan to address the growing problem. In the past 18 months there have been several incidents of violence against random people and businesses from North Philly to South Street.

“We do not tolerate violence by any individuals in our city,” the mayor says in a statement, “and we will continue to respond with the full force of our city’s justice system to kids who disrespect their city.” Nutter is expected to outline a plan next week when he returns from vacation.

The Philadelphia Police Department, meanwhile, has launched an online initiative that allows residents and businesses to register their security cameras with the city – big brother style.

But is it enough?

In some ways it’s tough to fault the PPD for preventing attacks that they can’t possibly predict will happen. But it’s up to them, the city and all of us to be proactive in reporting these incidences before it gets any worse.

As for the Gayborhood, we’re glad this latest situation didn’t get worse. But no matter who is hurt, violence of any kind is never acceptable.