Tracking gun violence in Philadelphia: August 17, 2020

• Philadelphia Police data indicate that 55 people were shot in the city over the past week. The previous week’s total was updated to 56 shooting victims. The updates brought the year-to-date shooting victim total to 1,203, which represents a 36.1 percent increase vs. the same period last year. An average of 27 people were shot in city each week during past five years. [Philadelphia Police]

• The latest police update also reports 2,070 aggravated assaults with guns this year, up 29.5 percent. The most recent data from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office reports 637 arrests for aggravated assaults with guns through August 15 of this year, one percent ahead of last year’s pace. [Philadelphia Police/Philadelphia District Attorney]

• Dozens of people were shot over the weekend. [CBSPhilly]


• A map created for the Justice Journal monthly newsletter from the District Attorney’s Office provides a visual comparison of the geographic distribution of poverty and shooting rates in Philadelphia. You can subscribe to the journal for free. [ArcGIS/Medium]

• DA Krasner: “There is no question that poverty and racism in this city, which are twin evils and are interconnected, have contributed greatly to violence in this city. Simply put, poverty equals bullets.” [MetroPhilly]

Lives lost

• Total homicides are now running 31 percent ahead of last year’s pace and 76 percent ahead of the pace recorded in 2014, according to the latest update to Crime Maps & Stats page on the police department’s web site. [Philadelphia Police]

• Friday was the seventh day this year with four homicides in Philadelphia. [Twitter]

City Council

• The Philadelphia City Council Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention held more than eight hours of public hearings online over two days last week that primarily highlighted the lack of any citywide coordination of prevention efforts. Watch: Day One | Day Two [YouTube]

• Media feedback was critical. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

• Meanwhile, Council members are requesting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms analyze how guns are flowing through Philadelphia. [MetroPhilly]

New efforts

• The Office of Violence Prevention announced that the city will be implementing the Group Violence Intervention, “an evidence-based approach that elevates the role community support and social services play in reducing gun violence” but also “involves law enforcement partnering with the community to focus on the small and active number of people driving the violence plaguing many of our neighborhoods.” []

• A “Home Gun-Check Campaign” over the weekend got at least 43 guns off the streets of Philadelphia. [CBS Philly/Twitter]

Leaders in the community

• Darlene Burton is leading her own protest against Philadelphia gun violence. Barton also shared news of a vigil and peaceful protest next week at Marconi Plaza. [Twitter]

• Gun violence educator Scott Charles joined a panel of national leaders discussing prevention online. [Twitter]

• Pastor Carl Day was featured in a USA Today report on the wave of deadly shootings striking US cities. [USA Today]

• Experts from the community were invited to discuss “what is behind the spike in shootings and homicides in the city? And what can be done to curb it,” on Radio Times. [WHYY]

• All of this year’s annual Peace Day Philly events are taking place online and free to participants next month. [Peace Day Philly]

• We’re compiling a list of Community Organizations that address gun violence in Philadelphia. If you spot any errors or omissions, please use the Contact link on our main menu and let us know. []

One year later

• Last week marked the first anniversary of a North Philadelphia gun battle in which six police officers were wounded. Ammar Hassan was killed in a separate incident on the same night. [Billy Penn/Philly Obit Project]

National emergency

• Across 20 major cities, the murder rate at the end of June was on average 37 percent higher than it was at the end of May. [New York Times]

• Homicides are spiking this summer because young men are stuck at home, experiencing the same anxiety the rest of us but in neighborhoods with a long history of violence, accumulated traumas and unresolved disputes, plus the “astronomical” number of guns purchased since the beginning of the pandemic, according to John Roman of NORC at the University of Chicago. [Substack]

• The annual healthcare costs of gun violence in the United States exceed $170 billion. [Medical News Today]

Solution of the week

• Police could funnel service requests to other agencies to help build trust with residents and encourage them to cooperate with investigations, according to soon-to-be acting Philadelphia Managing Director Tumar Alexander. [WHYY]

Gun violence prevention and journalism

• The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting has begun to release its “Best Practices for Reporting on Community Gun Violence,” based on learnings from last fall’s Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit in Philadelphia. []

• The Solutions Journalism Network added a new section to their Solutions Story Tracker: What Works to Reduce Community Gun Violence? [Solutions Journalism Network]

• We added the new Mobile & Remote Journalism Toolkit from Philadelphia Neighborhoods to our Reporting Resources page. [Adobe Spark/]

Getting help in Philadelphia

• People affected by gun violence in Philadelphia can find resources online. [Billy Penn]

• Safe gun storage prevents unintentional shootings and people in Philadelphia are invited to get a free gun lock. [Temple Safety Net]