Shooting Prompts Officials to Make Changes at Local Rec Center

Residents and city officials hope that new security cameras placed at a West Oak Lane recreation center will help deter violent crime.

Two teenagers were sent to the hospital when shots were fired at the Simons Rec Center on the 1600 block of Walnut Lane lastThursday. Residents of the community are speaking out about the violence and hope that cameras will discourage future violence.

"A lot of elderly people around here, children around here and it’s frightening," West Oak Lane resident Merion Kilby said.

Simons Rec Center could see Parks and Recreation installing an extensive network of security cameras sooner than planned because of the shooting incident.

A local grandmother – who did not want to be identified - attempts to keep her family safe by avoiding the community center altogether.

“I don’t even send my kids to the rec center to play," said another resident who asked not to be identified. "I don’t even send them to camp over there because I am afraid of the violence."

The city's Parks and Recreations department is aiming to have cameras installed in every rec center in Philadelphia by 2016. Simons Rec Center's cameras will most likely be installed sooner light of the recent shooting.

The security systems will cost around $60,000 and will be paid for by each district's city council.

“Security cameras are a proven and necessary tool to help ensure that citizens and staff are safe while enjoying our parks and recreational facilities” Michael Diberardinis, Commissioner for Philly Parks and Rec said.

Simons Rec Center will hold an anti-violence vigil, led by the police, Thursday at 5 p.m.

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