Dec 1, 2022 - News

Philadelphia homicides are down as year-end nears

A note and flowers honoring victims of a mass shooting in South Philadelphia.

A note left after a June shooting on South Street that killed three. Photo: Kriston Jae Bethel/AFP via Getty Images

Despite a terrible summer and fall, it's looking like Philadelphia won't surpass 2021's homicide record.

Driving the news: Homicides in the city are down 7% so far in 2022 from the same time last year, police data shows.

Yes, but: Over the past two years, the number of killings recorded in December has rivaled summer months — historically the most violent season.

  • July was Philly's most violent month of 2022, with 60 homicides. Last December, the city recorded 52.

Why it matters: Homicides have been steadily climbing in Philadelphia since 2016, and the city has been collaborating with federal officials and funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to try and stop the soaring levels of violence.

By the numbers: Homicide victims and perpetrators are getting younger.

  • Through Nov. 28, 53 juveniles had been charged in homicides, police told Axios. And there have been 37 juvenile victims during the same period, the youngest a 1-month-old infant.

Zoom out: This year's homicide clearance rate was nearly 47%, up from almost 42% in 2021, but Philly's rate still lags behind the national average of about 50%, per the FBI.

What's ahead: Violent crime has fueled criticism of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who was impeached last month by the state's GOP-controlled House.

  • The progressive prosecutor is set to go on trial in the Senate in January, where he could become the first public official removed from office in more than two decades.

What they're saying: Insha Rahman of the Vera Institute of Justice told Axios that a recent study from the University of Toronto found some U.S. cities led by progressive prosecutors experienced less rapid increases in homicides than those led by more conservative district attorneys.

  • "Blaming the wrong person causes you to miss the opportunity to focus on the right solutions," Rahman said.
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