Diary

Killadelphia Reaches a Milestone: Over 500 Homicides in 2020

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

This is part of the penitential rite at the beginning of Mass:

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

And I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, because, as Philadelphia was approaching 500 homicides for 2020, I was, morbidly enough, rooting for the city to reach the milestone of 500 homicides. And, according to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Current Crime Statistics page, that ghastly goal was achieved, with 502 people bleeding out their lives in the city’s mean streets.

I noted, only a few days ago, that the City of Brotherly Love had, under the great leadership of Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, won the Silver Medal, with 489 homicides, tying the second place mark set in 1989, but that 1990’s 505 number seemed out of reach.

I had used an article in Wikipedia as my source, which gave that number. But, as of just a couple of days ago, the article changed, stating that 1990’s total was 497. And The Philadelphia Inquirer’s old website, philly.com, has interactive data which gives that same 497 number for 1990.

That may not be the last word, because the Inquirer’s Chris Palmer reported, on New Year’s Day:

The number of people killed last year — 499 as of late Thursday — is 40% higher than in 2019, and more than in all of 2013 and 2014 combined. The only time more people were slain in the city was in 1990, when police reported 500 homicides as violence surged alongside an intensifying crack-cocaine epidemic.

With that 505 number stuck in my brain, I had thought that Mr Palmer was simply using 500 as an approximation, but with the change in data from my source — now two sources — I have to wonder, is the 500 number an approximation, or precise?

Because, if it is precise, and the Police Department’s 502 number is accurate, Messrs Kenney and Krasner, and Miss Outlaw, have won the Gold Medal!

That’s a pretty sad award.

At any rate, a site search for 502 homicides on the Inquirer’s website, at 5:40 PM EST did not turn up any stories noting the ‘achievement.’

Now, I’m something of a math geek, and I do really radical things like run the numbers. It wasn’t so long ago, October 22nd, that I noted in an article entitled We need to stop pretending that #BlackLivesMatter, because in the City of Brotherly Love, it’s very apparent that they don’t, that the math said Philly was on track for 485 homicides.

And that had been a huge jump, because on August 18th, the daily averages led to a number of 439.

Of course, in mid-August, there was still a lot of warm weather left, and violent crimes tend to increase in the long, hot summer.

But by October 22nd, we were a month into autumn, cooler weather had prevailed, and supposedly, so would cooler heads. As I wrote then, the math was simple: 391 people killed in 295 days so far equals 1.325 people killed every single day. With 71 days left in the year, at that rate the city should see another 94 people sent to their deaths before the ball drops in New York City.

391 + 94 = 485.

But 502 killings in 366 days? That works out to 1.372 people being slaughtered, every single day of the year. In the last two months of autumn, and the first two weeks of winter, Philadelphia saw 1.563 homicides per day. The rate of death increased in the cooler months. December’s 48 homicides in 31 days works out to 1.548 per day, during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. December, after President Trump had been defeated for re-election, and COVID-19 vaccines had been developed and approved, yet the things on which the left would like to blame the increased crime rate now being diminished didn’t do much to lower the homicide rate.

I have been profuse in my criticism of Mayor Kenney, District Attorney Krasner and Commissioner Outlaw, and I do not take back a single word of it. But the real blame lies with not just the killers, but the parents who reared them. Yes, a no-nonsense “broken windows” policing and prosecution regime would reduce crime, the way Mayor Rudy Giuliani (D-New York) accomplished it, but the real key is reducing criminal thought in the minds of the people. If the kids are reared right, they won’t commit the crimes, regardless of the policing regimen.

Political leaders cannot rear our children for us; that’s up to parents and grandparents. But the Mayor and the District Attorney can look at what Mayor Giuliani accomplished, and if they don’t like his methods, they can at least appreciate his numbers. Philadelphia’s previous Mayor, Michael Nutter, and his Police Commissioner, Charles Ramsey, might not have been full on “broken windows” in their policies, but, as Robert Stacy McCain pointed out, there were more killings in Philly last year than in two consecutive years, 2013 and 2014, under Messrs Nutter and Ramsey.

Mr Krasner’s Twitter biography states, “District Attorney Larry Krasner fights for equal justice for the great people of Philadelphia. A fair and effective criminal justice system makes us safer.”  The one thing Mr Krasner’s policies have not done is to make Philadelphians safer.
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