Oct 28, 2021 - News

Philadelphia police brass sticks by anti-violence strategy

The Philadelphia Police Department headquarters

The Philadelphia Police Department headquarters. Photo: Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Philly's top cop is sticking by the city's anti-violence plan as homicides remain on track to reach an all-time high by year's end.

Driving the news: Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday that the department has seen a steady decline in homicides recently after "pretty high spikes" earlier in the year.

  • "We know that our strategies are working," she said during the city's gun violence update. "We have to continually assess and then tweak in areas where we know some things may not be as effective."

Catch up fast: The city is dedicating $155 million to anti-violence efforts this year, an increase over the previous year.

By the numbers: 453 homicides were reported in the city as of Wednesday, up 13% over the same time last year. The city logged 499 killings in 2020, according to the police department's online database.

  • The current pace of homicides could overtake the city's one-year record high of 500 homicides in 1990, according to police data.

Zoom in: Homicides were down 6% over the last four weeks compared to the previous four-week stretch, according to police.

  • But in the police department's so-called "pinpoint grids" — violent hot spots where police focus extensive violence-prevention tactics — homicides were down 46% over the past four weeks, compared to the prior four-week period.

Meanwhile, the number of shooting victims, as of Sunday, is up 8% from the same time last year, totaling 1,910.

  • But the number was down 8% over the last four weeks, compared to the previous four-week period.

Of note: Black residents are disproportionately affected by homicides and shootings.

What they're saying: Deputy Police Commissioner Joel Dales said police have recovered roughly 23% more guns used in crimes compared to this time last year. Arrests for firearm violations are also up.

What's ahead: The police department doesn't plan to deploy any additional resources for the upcoming Halloween weekend.

  • Police brass has "put the word out to make sure the officers are vigilant," Dales said. "We are paying close attention to our problematic zones during trick-or-treating time."

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