Aug 14, 2023 - News

Violent crime is falling in Philly

Reported violent crimes in Philadelphia
Data: Philadelphia Police Department; Chart: Axios Visuals

Homicides in Philadelphia are falling this year amid declines in overall violent crime, according to police department data.

Why it matters: This could signal that violent crime in the city, which increased significantly during the pandemic, may finally have peaked.

State of play: More than halfway through the year, violent crime was down nearly 7% through Aug. 6 compared to the same period in 2022.

  • Homicides fell by 28%, robberies were down nearly 10% and rapes declined 9%.
  • While assaults with a gun have plummeted nearly 10% so far this year, other types of aggravated assaults ticked up by 1%.

Meanwhile, shootings declined by 23%.

  • Of note: Shootings are not included in the calculation for overall violent crime.

Yes, but: Overall property crime incidents skyrocketed through Aug. 6 compared to the same time in 2022 — up nearly 24%, per police data.

  • Car thefts spiked 105% and retail thefts jumped 34%.

What they're saying: Department spokesperson Sgt. Eric Gripp credited the drop in overall violent crime with a boost in the number of officers in a quartet of police districts in North Philly this year, which account for about 40% of the city's crime.

  • Plus: Police reevaluated and adjusted their so-called "pinpoint grids" — hot spots where they deploy extensive violence-prevention tactics.
  • "To us, it's showing us that what we're doing is working," Gripp told Axios.

Between the lines: The department continues to struggle with understaffing.

  • The department has about 5,500 cops but is budgeted for nearly 6,400.

The big picture: Public safety was the top issue among polled Philadelphians in this year's primary for mayor and other offices.

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