Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Homicides may hit 46 year low in Philadelphia

Fewer people have been slain in Philadelphia this year than at any time in almost a half-century, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

With an extraordinary decline in homicide already posted so far this year, the city appears poised to end 2013 with about 250 slayings, the fewest since 1967.

Barring a burst of violence in the last days of the year, the final tally should see 80 fewer deaths compared with 2012 - an unprecedented 24 percent fall.

Mayor Nutter, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, and District Attorney Seth Williams say the reduction reflects a sustained commitment to a crime-fighting plan that combined data-driven law enforcement and old-school, shoe-leather police work. The plan targets gun criminals and the most violent neighborhood "hot spots."

Williams and other officials say the fall in deadly violence also reflects reforms in the Philadelphia courts. The state Supreme Court has shaken up the city system to make sure more cases go to trial.

"Anyone who tells you it's one thing doesn't know what they're talking about," Nutter said in an interview last week. The key, he added, was "a consistent, regular focus" on a strategy.

As of Saturday, the homicide total was 238 - vs. 319 at the same date last year.

If the final homicide tally hits 250, that would be the fewest since 1967, when 234 were killed.

The drop this year is part of a downward trend in homicide in most big cities across the nation, statistics show.

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