The Philadelphia Story:

Philadelphia has many nicknames including the “Birthplace of our Nation” and the “City of Brotherly Love.” The one nickname our region certainly doesn’t want is the “Murder Capital of the Country.”  That distinction could go to New Orleans this year, although according to Neighborhood Scout, in 2020 the City of Chester ranked #7 on the list of cities with the highest per capita murder rate. So, Philadelphia may not hold that dubious distinction, but last year the City of Brotherly Love had a record number of murders – 562!

So far this year in Philadelphia we’ve seen over 700 carjackings! The city is seeing a marked increase in the number of violent and property offenses, which would include carjackings and burglary as indicated by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office online dashboard.

Any large city has its share of crime, but why are we feeling it so much more intensely now? Former District Attorney (D.A.) Seth Williams puts it squarely on the shoulders of current Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to help turn this trend around. As this chart indicates, D.A. Krasner has been withdrawing or dismissing gun violence crimes every year since his election.

As former D.A. Williams indicated in the linked Broad and Liberty article, “We must utilize a holistic approach that focuses on long term prevention, swift and certain legal accountability, and direct intervention strategies that engages those most likely to be shot or to shoot and involves them in the answers. If we make this commitment of boldly directing overwhelming resources to this very small population of Philadelphians that drive the violence, we will make history again for the right reasons.” 

The victims of these crimes are our parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren. The parents of one 7 year old murder victim are in agreement with Seth Williams in blaming the policies of D.A. Larry Krasner for the increased violence in Philadelphia. 

Additionally, as KYW Newsradio reported in January, 2022, in 2019 Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 58 into law. This law gives the PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro the authority to charge and prosecute certain gun crimes in Philadelphia.  Shapiro has yet to get involved in any of those cases while the victims continue to suffer. 

The bottom line is that the policies in Philadelphia do not seem to be helping to decrease the number of occurrences of violent crime. However, the City of Chester took action after reaching #7 on the national list of cities with the most murders. The city implemented the Chester Partnership for Safe Neighborhoods wherein law enforcement, social services, and the community worked together to bring down the crime rate.

Ironically, the tactic Chester is using is the same one used in Philadelphia under Mayor Ed Rendell with his “Smart on Crime” policy. Why would Philadelphia leadership abandon policies that work at the expense of its citizens?

Moving into the Suburbs:

Unfortunately, it is almost inevitable that the criminal elements in Philadelphia when left unfettered will move to suburban areas where crime has, until recently, been relatively low. Carjackings and robberies were almost unheard of in some towns, but now people are taking notice and are much more wary.

As this chart from the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting system indicates, in Delaware County thefts in 2022 are outpacing last year’s numbers.

Additional crime statistics can be found here.

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