Behind most murders is the petty argument

The line separating petty arguments and murder is tragically thin in Philadelphia, according to experts.

It was an argument over dog feces.

Franklin Santana was reportedly tired of neighbor Tyrirk Harris’ dogs defecating on his lawn. On Feb. 14 this year, he confronted Harris about it. Now, Harris is charged with­­ fatally shooting Santana.  
Another minor confrontation had turned deadly.

Arguments account for about 80 percent of the city’s homicides, according to  Everett Gillison, the city’s deputy mayor for public safety. 

Philadelphia Police Homicide Capt. James Clark said some of those disagreements are “about drugs, robbery or a deal on drugs.”

“It’s a small population of the community that have guns and no regard for human life,” Clark said.
But more likely, said criminologist David Kennedy, the arguments are personal beefs.

“It’s not about money, not about the drug trade, not about protecting the corner or their pocketbook. It’s different kinds of ‘street code’ stuff: respect and disrespect and girls and vendettas,” said Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It’s my group against your group. These things can simmer, literally, for decades.”

Maria Volpe, director of John Jay College’s Dispute Resolution Program, said arguments end with violence because many people aren’t taught other ways to resolve their problems. Her program, with a motto of “make talk work,” aims to teach peaceful means of conflict resolution.

“There’s an old saying that if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail,” she said. “If the only tool you have is a weapon, that’s what you end up using.”

More policing can’t prevent arguments that spring up in homes and on the streets, said Jerry Ratcliffe, a Temple University criminologist.­

“Homicide is in some regards the easiest measure for people to compare cities and also the worst­,” he said. “So many of the factors that drive the homicide rate are outside the range of the police having an effect on them. Yet these figures are used to measure policing, and they’re quite unrealistic.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.