Jan 21, 2022 - News

Report: Philly police struggle solving cases as shootings rise

Philadelphia fatal shootings incidents and arrests, by year
Data: Philadelphia Police Department; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The Philadelphia Police Department's clearance rates for shootings — which the city uses to calculate the share of cases solved — are dropping as gun violence increases, according to the latest city controller report.

Why it matters: Philadelphia's gun violence problem has been creeping up for years, but the pandemic propelled it to historic levels.

  • Shootings comprised over 85% of the record 562 homicides reported last year.
  • So far in 2022, homicides are 3% higher than this time last year, as of Thursday.

Details: Clearance rates are calculated using the number of arrests made for shooting incidents in a year divided by the total shooting incidents in a year, per the city controller's analysis.

  • The rates also include cases in which a suspect died or fled the country.

By the numbers: The department's clearance rate of fatal shootings dropped from 41% to 37% between 2015 and 2020.

  • Over the five-year period, the number of fatal shooting victims increased by 93%, outpacing Philly police arrests.

Of note: Some arrests for shooting incidents that occurred late 2020 weren't made until early 2021.

  • Axios has requested the latest 2021 clearance rate figures from the police department.

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