Pulse: Chatter: Murder, Then and Now

The violence that has enveloped Philadelphia this year has been tragically consistent. Not only because so many of the murder victims are similar — young black men — but because the killings have mostly occurred in the same areas: a “murder belt” that stretches through Upper North, West and Southwest Philly. The data is depressing — and depressingly familiar. With the exception of the area around Graduate Hospital, which has seen a marked decrease in murders vs. five years ago, the neighborhoods that have seen the most killings this year are the same ones that have long had high murder rates. Here, snapshots of homicide in Philadelphia five years ago, and as it is today.

Homicides in Philadelphia in 2006 (through September 6th): 267
Projected homicides for all 2006: 375
Homicides in 2001: 309
Homicides in 1996: 420
Homicides in the first six months of 2006 involving handguns: 82%
Murders nationwide involving handguns: 51%
2006 Philadelphia murder victims ages 18-24: 38%
2001 Philadelphia murder victims ages 18-24: 34%

Murders Philadelphia police classify as “random”: 5
Suspected homicide offenders with a prior criminal offense: 84%

Homicides in the 6th Police District through the first eight months of 2006: 1
Homicides in the 25th Police District through the first eight months of 2006: 24
Median sale price of a home in the Center City West neighborhood, which lies within the 6th District: $415,000
Median sale price of a home in Fairhill, which lies within the 25th District: $10,100
Residents of Center City West with a bachelor’s degree: 29%
Residents of Fairhill with a bachelor’s degree: 1.4%

Deadliest days of 2006 (so far): July 15th and August 11th (5 murders each)
Deadliest week: July 9th-15th (12 murders)
Deadliest month: July (48 murders)
Longest stretch without a murder in Philadelphia in 2006: 6 days (August 5th-10th)