Can Street Violence Be Fought Like a Virus?

It’s that time of year again. With summer’s arrival, people flow into the streets of America’s poorest urban neighborhoods. Temperatures rise and tempers get shorter. Old beefs between corner drug crews start to simmer again as warm weather brings more addicts to the neighborhood, sparking territorial disputes over the swelling black market. Violence can come to the city in many ways, but it comes, like clockwork, when the weather warms up.

In the past month alone, Philadelphia has seen an 86 percent spike in homicides, bringing the year’s tally to 173. Nearly thirty people were shot in the city over Memorial Day weekend alone. In Chicago, a rash of summer gang violence has the city in a state of emergency, as its homicide total soars 50 percent over last year’s. Some in the press have labeled it “worse than Afghanistan.”

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