Tracking gun violence in Philadelphia: January 20, 2021

Making year-to-date comparisons can result in dramatic day-to-day fluctuations this early in a new year. Check the 365-day tracker on our Philadelphia Shooting Victims dashboard to spot long-term trends.

Latest Philadelphia data

• Police report 42 people shot in Philadelphia during the seven-day period ending Sunday. The previous week’s victim total was adjusted up from 37 to 43. [Philadelphia Police via Google Drive]

Total homicides

• Police have recorded 27 homicides during the first 18 days of 2021, roughly on pace with this time last year. []

Hunger strike

• Gun violence prevention activist Jamal Johnson began a hunger strike Monday at Philadelphia City Hall to urge the mayor to respond more aggressively to gun violence. [@JAMAL_SKU/WHYY]

• In an interview published Sunday, Mayor Kenney discussed “realignment of (the city’s) violence reduction goals, with an enhanced holistic approach” to be organized through the new Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives for Criminal Justice and Public Safety. [Metro Philly]

On the media

• Philadelphia’s Meek Mill took to Twitter to share his observations on racial disparity when it comes to news coverage of shooting victims in Philadelphia. [@MeekMill]

Masked shooters

• A Philadelphia Police captain says that shooters wearing masks became “the number one factor” in the department’s falling clearance rate during the pandemic. [WHYY]

Rest in power

• Longtime Philadelphia gun violence prevention activist Paul “Earthquake” Moore has died after battling cancer. [NBC Philadelphia]

• Prominent local peacemakers have been shot and killed over the past week in Indianapolis and Baltimore. [FOX59/New York Times]


• $100 supermarket gift certificates will be available for those who turn in working handguns or semi-automatic weapons at two events Saturday in Philadelphia. [@BilalQayyumq]

Skyrocketing gun sales

• Americans are buying guns at unprecedented rates. Gun permit applications quadrupled in New Jersey last year. [Forbes/NJ Spotlight]

• California survey respondents who bought firearms cited worries including lawlessness (76%), prisoner releases (56%) and the government going too far (49%). [UC Davis Health]

More research

• The large majority of the perpetrators of violent crimes do not have a diagnosable mental illness, and conversely, most people with psychiatric disorders are never violent. [Harvard Review of Psychiatry via EurekAlert]

• 100 Critical Questions for Gun Violence Research: new report identifies key areas of focus to build the science of gun violence prevention. [The Joyce Foundation]

Solution of the Week

Digital messaging, wraparound services and new understandings: Frontline gun violence outreach workers and other experts share lessons learned in 2020. [The Trace]

Finding help in Philadelphia

• The Philly Gun Violence Resource List was compiled by WHYY’s Billy Penn and has been released for public use by other media organizations or anyone else. [Google Docs]

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

Report for us!

• We are now seeking applicants to join the Credible Messenger Reporting Project and tell the story of gun violence and prevention in Philadelphia from the community perspective.

Community reporters will be paired with professional journalists to learn from each other, craft stories and get the news out where it can make a difference.

We hope to see some of the resulting reports shared by local news organizations, while other might be more effective on social media platforms and we hope to find professional journalists learning more about engaging new audiences. The possibilities are endless.

The Center will provide equal funding to both partners and cover related expenses, including stipends for story subjects from the community in some cases.

Visit our home page for more info and link to apply: