Feb 3, 2022 - News

Philadelphia starts year with decline in homicides

A roll of crime scene tape
A roll of crime scene tape on Oct. 5, 2019 in the Nicetown-Tioga section of Philadelphia. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/Getty Images

Philadelphia's homicide rate declined during the first month of the year compared to 2021, leaving city officials "cautiously optimistic," according to the city's top cop.

Driving the news: Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw credited the department and its partnerships for contributing to the drop in homicides, along with a small decrease in shooting victims, during a city update on Wednesday.

By the numbers: A total of 44 people have been killed this year, as of Wednesday, which is a 14% decline from the same time in 2021.

  • The city reported 182 shooting victims as of Sunday, down 4% compared to the that period last year.

The big picture: Cities across the U.S. saw homicide numbers climb in 2021, and many, like Philly, reported record levels.

What they're saying: Mayor Jim Kenney called last month's drop in the homicide rate progress, but he acknowledged the city continues to face "daunting challenges" and violent crime in concentrated portions of the city.

  • Kenney speculated that officers' removal of more than 6,000 guns from city streets last year could be contributing to the decrease in killings.

What's next: The police department is considering additional partnerships with outside law enforcement agencies, like the Pennsylvania State Police, but didn't provide further details.

  • "We recognize that this is still a time for crisis," Outlaw said. "And we need to do what we can to work with our neighboring departments to have more visibility, to have more boots on the ground."
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