Whatever the name, it's a crime
"Catch and Wreck," a term cops say kids use to describe recent beatings of adults, is actually a misnomer for "Catchin' Rep," as in a reputation.
"Catch and Wreck," a term cops said that kids are using to describe recent beatings of adults, is actually a misnomer for "Catchin' Rep," as in a reputation, said a nonprofit founder who works with kids at the street level.
"They think it's very funny that everyone's saying it wrong," said Rashida Ali-Campbell, founder of LoveLovingLove Inc., a group that promotes holistic-health education and love to impoverished Philadelphia neighborhoods.
"Catchin' Rep," is not a game either, as it has been previously described, Ali-Campbell said. It's a status-maker and a reputation-builder - something that's been going on for years but that has received attention this week because of the age of recent victims and their attackers, she said.
"Our group is very familiar with the term," she said. "It's not a game. It's a decision. They have decided that beating down on somebody is a source of getting a reputation."
On Friday night, Belinda Moore, 41, was beaten by as many as 20 kids, ranging in age from 9 to 15, as she walked home through Finnegan Playground, on Grovers Avenue near 69th Street, in Southwest Philadelphia.
A week earlier, 73-year-old Vincent Poppa was beaten in the same location by some of the same kids, police said.
Ali-Campbell, 32, who estimated that her organization talks with about 30 kids on the streets of Philadelphia each day, said that there's an interesting mentality behind "Catchin' Rep."
"So, it doesn't seem like fighting violence with violence will stop anything, but they don't look at it that way," she said. "They look at it like 'I need to be 'Catchin' Rep' so I don't have to fight all the time.' "
Ali-Campbell said that if you have a reputation in your neighborhood as someone who'll beat a stranger, people will be less likely to mess with you otherwise.
She said that the beatings usually go without notice because they often happen among children of the same age, but that beating on adults and strangers offers a different type of "rep."
Not only are you considered more dangerous if you beat a stranger, but there is no guilt factor, Ali-Campbell said.
"It shows you're more hard," she said. "A stranger is a more desirable target as well because they feel like they can't get caught and they won't feel guilty."
Ali-Campbell said that kids who participate in "Catchin' Rep" often come from broken, impoverished homes without a strong parental figure.
"If they loved themselves, they'd have compassion for others," she said. "We have to remember that everyone needs someone, and a lot of these so-called animals are really orphans who are sick."
For more information on Ali-Campbell's organization visit: www.lovelovinglove.com.