My hope was that I could actually spread the message that guns are basically destroying the community in Philadelphia and have been for some time
Terence Harrell, Founder
If you live in Philadelphia and are active on instagram, and don’t already follow the account ‘No Gun Zone Philadelphia’ (@nogunzone), you should. I’ll tell you why.
It’s no secret that one of the most pressing issues in this city is its unfortunate problem with gun violence. Four years ago, former Behavioral Health Worker Terrence Harrell decided to create a very unique instagram page. Naming it No Gun Zone Philadelphia, residents who became aware of or witness to incidents dealing with gun violence, could contribute to a growing, crowd-sourced account of shootings as they occurred within the city.
The page, which continues to thrive, really seems to resonate on a grassroots level and has become quite a movement. In fact, the Instagram page has grown to encompass a larger following than a number of traditional news outlets. It’s especially great for people who are spending less time in front of the TV and more time on their phones or computer screens. It’s also a very immediate, condensed and centralized way of disseminating information as incidents occur
In addition to being a great way to spread the word on incidents of gun violence, the information that is sent over – usually by DM – is also very raw and unfiltered. This means that none of the stories are sugar coated and it gives a very true depiction of what is going on on a regular basis on our city’s streets.
No Gun Zone also curates content and posts information about other socially relevant topics, such as community events and different job opportunities
Very recently, the city released a plan that is putting $4.4 million towards addressing the issue with gun violence in neighborhoods across Philadelphia. This plan is based on an approach that looks at violence through a public health lens. A major component to it, as conveyed in a report released earlier this year, “The Philadelphia Roadmap To Safer Communities,” is community outreach. That is to suggest that drawing from or taking note of ideas like No Gun Zone can help ensure that what is being decided on a policy level aligns correctly with the reality of what is occurring on the grounds in the city