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Philadelphia Gun Violence At Historic Levels For Third Year

For the third consecutive year, Philadelphia has experienced historic levels of gun violence, subjecting thousands of people to the pain and trauma of a crisis that is claiming an unprecedented number of lives. Through Tuesday, the city had recorded 512 homicides this year, slightly lower than last year’s record-breaking total, but higher than any other year in at least six decades, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Most of the victims were young Black men, with the violence concentrated in neighborhoods where poverty, blight, and other systemic disadvantages collide. The number of people who were shot and survived — nearly 1,800 through Monday — rivaled last year’s record-setting pace. While other crime categories, particularly those not involving guns, had been declining over the last few years to decades-long lows, several offenses had marked increases in 2022: Commercial burglaries were up by 41 percent compared to last year, retail thefts by 51 percent, and auto thefts by 30 percent.


More than 2,800 robberies involved guns this year — about 55 per week — a 22 percent increase over last year, and the highest annual tally since 2015. Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw have said they were transferring 100 officers to the city’s most violent districts, and also adjusting their main patrol strategy to continue to focus on areas most affected by gun violence. “We understand what we’re seeing is still entirely unacceptable, and … our work is far from done,” Outlaw said. Shootings occurred at all times of day, and struck people at their most vulnerable moments: children leaving a football scrimmage, a mother working at a recreation center, a man unloading his baby niece from her car seat. Some were lifelong residents, others visiting for just a few days. Arguments and drug-related feuds remained the predominant motives in homicides. Authorities also pointed to ongoing gang conflicts, social media posts, retaliation or revenge, and domestic violence.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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