Here’s the good news: The murder rate in Philadelphia has slowed so much that if the year ended today, the city would see a nearly 40 percent drop in violent deaths. Here’s the bad news: The year isn’t ending today.
In fact, the Inquirer reports, it was bloody weekend in the city—six homicides over 36 hours starting Saturday night and ending Monday morning.
Through Sunday, police had recorded 225 homicides in Philadelphia so far this year, according to statistics on the Police Department’s website. At the same time last year, the death toll stood at 306.
There are no suspects in Christian Massey’s case. Police have made arrests in two other cases and are looking for suspects in three others.
Still unsolved are the murders of Marquis Melbane, 19, found lying on the 6100 block of Walton Avenue in West Philadelphia with gunshots to the chest and head Saturday; Luis Manuel Feliciano, 19, found facedown in the road on the 900 block of East Russell Street in Harrowgate with a gunshot wound to the head on Sunday; and a still-unidentified man, 33, who was shot in the chest at Palethorp and Somerset Streets in Fairhill early Monday.
All of which is stupid and tragic. But it’s also true that, unless every day of the month ends up as bloody as the weekend was, Philadelphia stands to see fewer than 300 reported homicides for the year in the first time since … well, a long time: 2002 was the last time that happened. So pray for the victims of this weekend’s evil, and pray they don’t represent a fresh wave of fear for Philadelphians to endure.