Diary

At Least Philadelphia Isn't as Bad as St Louis!

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

One of the first sites I check in the morning is the Philadelphia Police Department’s Current Crime Stats page, because, in my morbid way, I’m wondering on what date the City of Brotherly Love will match it’s total of 391 homicides for 2007.

Now, 2007 is not the record year. Rather, it’s the year in which the Current Crime Stats page has as its base, and it has the highest total of homicides listed. Through October 20, 2007, Philly had seen 322 people murdered. Through October 20th of this year, 389 people have bitten the dust there. At the current rate of 1.323 killings per day, the city ought to tie that dubious 391 number today or tomorrow.

Yet, when I checked The Philadelphia Inquirer’s website, there’s not a single story mentioning a homicide or murder dated yesterday or today. It’s as I have said previously: unless the victim is a ‘somebody,’ or a cute little white girl, nobody cares. The Inquirer, despite all of its financial troubles, is (supposedly) the newspaper of record for Pennsylvania, but apparently the killings of yet more people on the city’s streets doesn’t merit being recorded.

Now, I don’t have a copy of the dead trees edition in my hands, so it’s always possible that there’s a one-paragraph blurb buried in the middle pages, but, if so, it wasn’t important enough to have been included for the digital subscribers to the paper.

I did come across another story, however, on the murder rate in St Louis, dated October 5th. The Associated Press story noted that the Gateway to the West had reached “207 killings this year, a 25-year high with nearly three months still to go in 2020. The city recorded 248 homicides in 1994.”

That isn’t the record, however: St Louis saw 267 homicides in 1993, but the city’s population of 387,000 then was 86,000 higher than today’s 301,000. The homicide rate then was 69 per 100,00 population, and the 207 in a population of 301,000 has matched that rate.

Except, of course, that homicide rates are figured over a year’s time. Doing the math, 207 homicides in 278 days yields a total of 0.745 homicides per day. If the rate stays the same for the remainder of the year, there should be 65 or 66 more killings in St Louis the remainder of the year, bringing the total to 272 or 273. Using the lower figure, over the course of the year, St Louis homicide rate would be 90.37 per 100,000 population.

Philadelphia’s rate of 1.323 per day should add another 95.27 souls to the total of 389, for a total of 484, which would be good for third place in the city’s history. It also works out, with Philly’s population of 1,584,000 people, to a homicide rate of a mere 30.56 per 100,000. So, I suppose that we can at least say that Philadelphia isn’t as bad as St Louis.
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