This year's homicide rate will surpass 2014's before Thanksgiving
After the fatal shooting of a man at 13th and York Streets early Sunday morning, the city’s 2015 body count rose to 247 — just one away from the total 248 homicides that occurred in all of 2014.
There are still 40 days left in the year. And with the current median rate of at least one homicide every two days, Philadelphia is on pace to surpass last year’s record by Thanksgiving.
It doesn’t look so bad when you look at the stats, however. Overall, homicides have been on a decline in Philadelphia, according to the public data provided by the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD).
By this time last year there were 225 homicides on record; at the same time in 2007, there were over 360. These two years are chosen for comparison because that is one method by which the PPD measures its progress. The following up-to-date graphs come from their website:
Gun violence picked up during the summer and has been steady since then. One sunny June weekend saw 24 gunshot victims in a span of 48 hours, roughly one every two hours. On June 1, there were fewer than 100 homicide victims, which is a commendable midyear sum for the city. Then just three months later, on September 1, the PPD reported about 170 murders.
By November the number had broke 223, and in the first three weeks of this month there have been over 20 homicides already.
Just a few years back, Philadelphia set a commendable record by tallying just 246 homicides for all over 2013, almost 100 fewer than the year prior. More outstanding, it was the lowest homicide rate in over four decades for the city. Back then, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey attributed the falling numbers to data-driven policing, a crackdown on gun criminals, and sweeping reforms in the criminal courts.
In particular, the focussed deterrence initiative, which identifies young men most likely to shoot or get shot, led to over a 40 percent reduction in South Philadelphia shootings around this time in 2013.
AL DÍA is awaiting comment from the PPD.