Philadelphia Police records show 1/4 less homicides

Philadelphia Police Officers
Philadelphia Police officers. Credit: Charles Mostoller

____________________

Follow Sam Newhouse on Twitter: @scnewhouse

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia

With 236 homicides in the city on record as of Sunday, 2013 could end with the lowest number of homicides since 1967, based on police records.

A Philadelphia Inquirer story on the stats projected that 2013 will close out with around 250 homicides, an approximate reduction of one-quarter, and credits the drop to new law enforcement strategies.

“To have Philadelphia on record with the lowest number of homicides in years is great, but it’s still too many,” said Shira Goodman, executive director of CeasefirePA. “Those 250 families – for them this drop in deaths is not enough.”

Ray Gant, founder of the Ray of Hope project, who does volunteer clean-up and house rehabilitation work, said the numbers match with reality.

“Crime up here went down tremendously,” said Gant, who works in Frankford, Kensington and North Philadelphia. “At one point, every time you turned on the news, that was the only thing you heard about.”

Gant credits the change with an increased spirit of community involvement from residents.

“As your neighbor begins to clean up, the more cleaner and more sustainable they are, crime has been diminishing,” Gant said. “The more people get involved in their neighborhoods, as far as cleaning up to move and remove the blight, you’ll see change and things start to transform.”

Rev. John B. Hougen, a coordinator at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, said he’s glad homicides are down, and credited community groups, houses of worships, families and schools with working to curb violence.

But it’s not enough, he said.

“The number of violent cries and homicides are taking a horrible toll on the people of Philadelphia, and many people do not feel safe, even at this point where homicides are way down,” Rev. Hougen said.

Some citizens agreed with the report, while others were more skeptical.

“Yes, now that there’s more police hired, it’s definitely safer,” said Mel Faison, 33, of North Philadelphia. “During the early 90s, things really changed. It’s different now. People are more understanding and compassionate,” he said.

Frank Acosta, 21 of Frankford, agreed with the report, but said crime is still a problem.

“The police are certainly doing a better job,” Acosta said. “But there’s too much crime. It could be better, a lot better.”

Fairmount resident Simone Jacobs, 24, said despite the decline, violence is still a problem.

“I’m always happy if the rate’s declining, but even if there’s less murders, there’s still violence happening,” she said. “It doesn’t mean you’re not hurt, and have to go to the hospital.”

Based on police department records, 1967 was the last year when Philadelphia had less than 234 homicides. The record high is 500 homicides in 1990.

The homicide rate was at its lowest, 16 per every 100,000 residents, in 1984, and peaked at 32 in 1990. Barring an end-of-year spike, it could be back down to 16 at the end of the year.

According to Jim McMillan at GunCrisis.org, the Philadelphia Metropolitan Statistical Area – which includes Camden and Wilmington – had the highest homicide rate per capita in the nation, with 8.6 murders per 100,000 people. New York had 3.8 homicides per 100,000, and Chicago had 7.1.

Decline in murders?

2007 – 391 homicides

2008 – 331 homicides

2009 – 302 homicides

2010 – 306 homicides

2011 – 324 homicides

2012 – 331 homicides

2013 – 236 homicides as of Dec. 15

Credit: Philadelphia Police Department

____________________

Follow Sam Newhouse on Twitter: @scnewhouse

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.