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Philly surpasses 400 homicides this year

Marie McCullough, Cassie Owens and Chris Palmer, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

Experts and officials point to many reasons for the surge in violence, which has been concentrated in neighborhoods with intractable disadvantages, including higher poverty levels, higher blight levels, and lower life expectancies. The reasons include stressors made worse by the pandemic; closures of schools, workplaces, courts, and other institutions that kept people away from feuds; increasing gun sales; and impaired trust in law enforcement after the George Floyd killing and protests.

Krasner stressed the importance of investing "vigorously and continuously in children."

"That means safe, structured learning environments for all kids, in buildings free of neurotoxins and where regular access to nutritious meals is a given," he said.

Krasner also said the criminal justice system must change. It must take advantage of forensic technologies to solve shootings that are not captured on camera or witnessed by bystanders; and shore up training and staffing for homicide and shooting investigations to increase arrests.

That, he said, would foster "accountability within the criminal justice system, and greater accountability to the public, so that there is more trust ... in the police and criminal justice system."

In his statement, the mayor closed by saying, "We are committed to working with all of our criminal justice and community partners to create a safer city for us all, and I extend condolences to all families suffering with enormous grief."

That suffering continued unabated into the early hours of Sunday morning. A 31-year-old woman was shot in the chest about 5 a.m. near the intersection of North Hancock and West Lippincott Streets in the Fairhill section. She was pronounced dead when she arrived at Temple University's Episcopal Hospital.


There were also five nonfatal shootings overnight.

"It's too much homicide in Philadelphia. It's horrible. It's a crisis," Steve Au, owner of Best Season Expert Alteration in Chinatown, said Sunday afternoon during a community mural painting event in the neighborhood.

The 70-year-old former Hong Kong police officer said Philly police response is too slow, and that there should be more officers all over the city and more limits on gun possession.

May Lu, 24 and of South Philadelphia, works as a marketing specialist for delivery service Hungry Panda. She hears concerns about gun violence from drivers, one of whom was recently robbed at gunpoint in their car. She is not optimistic about prospects for change.

"It's really helpless," Lu said.

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