Philadelphia Homicides on Track for 46-Year Low

Friday, December 20, 2013
Philadelphia Homicide Commander James Clark (photo: Slocum, AP)

The City of Brotherly Love has dramatically reduced its murder rate this year. Unless there is a sudden surge in violence, Philadelphia is on pace to have its fewest homicides in 46 years.


Right now, the city’s total is 237. Experts predict 2013 should finish out at around 250. That would be lowest homicide total since 1967, when 234 were killed.


A total of 250 would also represent a 23% decline from last year, when 323 died. In addition to the falling murder rate, crime overall has gone down in Philadelphia. Shootings have declined 15%.


What is the reason for the improved homicide numbers? City officials credit reform of the court system that allows more cases to go to trial, as well as policies that combine “data-driven law enforcement and old-school, shoe-leather police work,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. It was also noted that fewer gunshot victims are dying in the city’s emergency rooms—only 20% succumbed to bullet wounds this year, compared to 28% in 2012.


Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey has his sights set on even fewer homicides in the years to come. “I firmly believe we can go back below 200 murders in this city,” he told the Inquirer. “It's not out of reach.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Philly on Track for Fewest Homicides since 1967 (by Mike Newall, Dylan Purcell and Craig R. McCoy, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Philadelphia Shuts Down Witness Intimidation Website (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)



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