Weekly Briefing on Gun Violence and Prevention in Philadelphia

Detail map shows locations for many of the 272 shooting victims recorded last month in Philadelphia. Fatal shootings are red. [Philadelphia Office of the Controller]

Credible Messengers reporting

• We have several projects from the Credible Messenger Reporting Project on our home page now. You can attend one public screening later this month. [PCGVR/Eventbrite]

Conflict continues

• Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney continued defending his response to rising gun violence and pushing back against those calling on him to act more urgently. [The Philadelphia Tribune]

• Some are calling for the city to create a Gun Violence Emergency Response Team that would update the public on a weekly basis and have a website with progress reports. [WHYY]

• Councilmember At-Large Kendra Brooks said: “If we don’t make this an emergency to address the problem, there’s going to be blood on our hands.” [Philadelphia Sunday Sun]

• Temple Med School Interim Dean Amy Goldberg also weighed in. [@AJGTempleSurg]

• Next: The mayor’s bi-weekly “Virtual Update on Gun Violence Response” is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. today. You can listen live on WURD Radio 900 AM / 96.1 FM or watch live online. [Facebook]

Deep dive

• ProPublcia, Vox and Magnum Photos collaborated to look into the causes of gun violence in Philadelphia, the human costs and the suffering. [ProPublica]

Historical perspective

• Loyola University Maryland history professor and Philadelphia native Menika Dirkson reflects on 50 years of responses to violence, poverty and inequality in Philadelphia. [The Washington Post]

Critical conversation

• Dr. Jessica Beard, the Temple trauma surgeon who treats gunshot patients and now serves as director of research here at the Center, took part in a critical conversation on gun violence and public health last week on Radio Times. [WHYY]

By the numbers

• Monthly report: 272 people were shot in Philadelphia during July. Last year 215 people were shot during the same month. From 2015 through 2019, the average shooting victim total for the month of July was 133. [Open Data Philly via @pcgvr]

• Philadelphia Police had recorded 322 total homicides this year to date, as of late last night; 25 percent ahead of last year’s pace. [PhillyPolice.com]


• Murders in major U.S. cities are up 16% for the first half of 2021. [Council on Criminal Justice]

• But year-to-date homicides are now down in some US cities, including Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas, Kansas City, San Diego and slightly in Chicago. [AH Datalytics]

Getting guns, carrying guns

• An estimated 90,150 guns were sold in Pennsylvania last month, up slightly from June but down 34 percent in comparison with July, 2020. [FBI data via The Trace]

• Community organizers, academics and young men impacted by gun violence discussed the reasons some give for carrying guns illegally in Philadelphia. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

In the community

• YEAH Philly is hosting the “Healing in the Hood 5 on 5 Basketball Tournament,” now going into its second year. [WHYY]

• Mothers in Charge held a gathering in North Philadelphia, offering some comfort to those who have lost children to gun violence. [KYW Newsradio]

• Next week: Unity in the Community Movie Night will include a child-friendly discussion of gun violence. [@pcgvr]

Funding plan

• The city plans to provide violence prevention funding to medium-size neighborhood-based groups, along with help navigating the application process, building capacity and monitoring outcomes. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Seeking Solutions: The Missouri Gun Violence Project

• Public health researchers have shown that the built environment of a community — including negative features like vacant lots and abandoned buildings — has an impact on the risk of gun violence. [The Kansas City Star]

Data analysis

• Cities that reduced arrests for minor offenses also saw fewer police shootings, including Philadelphia. And crime in those cities wasn’t worse. [FiveThirtyEight]

Solution of the Week

• One Philadelphia community leader thinks the city should support social media journalists addressing gun violence. It’s already happening in Washington. [The Philadelphia Inquirer/MSN]


• Expanding the surveillance state is not the solution. [Fast Company]


• The same communities that experience higher homicide rates also experience premature mortality rates from other causes like chronic disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, maternal and infant mortality, and overdoses. [University of Chicago Crime Lab via The Chicago Tribune]

Reporting resources

• We’re honored to share that the gun violence reporting section of the guide cited in this article was informed by what we learned from journalists, researchers & community representative participating in #BGVR2019, our Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit. [Nieman Lab/IBGVR]

In memoriam

• The Souls Shot Portrait Project is a group of artists who work to honor those lost to gun violence. [Story Road via YouTube]

• Diyann Smith cared about people without homes and was the last person killed in Philadelphia last year. [Philadelphia Obituary Project]