“For the first time in three years, the city is poised to end 2023 with fewer than 500 fatalities — but the gunshots, sirens, and recurring cycles of mourning persist,” writes Mensah Dean for The Trace, in a piece that examines the declines in shooting and the reasons behind it for some of Philadelphia’s highest-crime areas, in the heart of a cluster of four police districts that accounted for 43 percent of the city’s shootings last year.
City officials are attributing the decline in homicides, 390 this year, compared to 480 at this time last year, to more than $500 million spent in recent years to create intervention initiatives, a revamped Operation Pinpoint system used to assign officers. Temple University criminal justice Professor Jason Gravel said the city would be wise to learn exactly which of its initiatives are responsible for reducing shootings so it can continue funding them and phasing out others, given that the projected expenditure level of $596 million since the spike in gun violence began is not sustainable. “Is it the policing? Is it Group Violence Intervention?” he said. “Where do we go next?”