According to recent police statistics, more Philadelphians were victims of gun violence in 2019 than any other year within the past decade, though the homicide rate didn’t budge.
Philly police report that as of December 29, a total of 1,435 people were shot—100 of them, children—and 353 people had been murdered, which is the exact same number as 2018. Statistics show that 1401 Philadelphians were shot in 2018.
Acting Police Commissioner Christine Coulter told Inquirer.com that arguments topped the list as motives for killings in 2019. Last year, District Attorney Larry Krasner and then-Commissioner Richard Ross said drug-related disputes topped the 2018 list for murder motives.
Coulter said there were about 75 killings that occurred indoors, which is 15 to 20 more than last year, and said those crimes are harder for officials to prevent.
Some indoor shootings that made headlines include a woman who police say shot her husband and two daughters after legally purchasing a firearm. Another indoor shooting occurred when a man with mental health issues allegedly killed his two brothers, mother, and stepfather after legally buying a gun.
Philly officials are calling on state officials to pass tighter gun restrictions or allow the city to form its own rules, which is currently not possible due to state laws.
Besides the growth in the homicide category, there was significant growth within the gun violence category. According to Inquirer.com, there was an increase in people arrested for illegal gun procession, and a 34 percent increase in cases involving aggravated assault with a gun.
Coulter and Krasner told Inquirer.com that the gun epidemic had been fueled by the ease of obtaining a gun, especially on the street with concentrated poverty and the lack of opportunity, which can lead to homelessness.
To help combat gun violence, Philly held gun turn-ins in December. Philly PD told Metro that overall, they gathered 28 guns from the most recent turn-in.
And the Kenney administration launched a plan in 2018 to deal with these issues through a public health approach to violence reduction. As part of the plan, city officials were placed in crisis-intervention teams in neighborhoods most impacted by shootings. They are supposed to focus on people most likely to be shot or people likely to carry out a shooting.
Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice and Public Safety Vanessa Garrett Harley told Inquirer that since the measures were implemented so recently, it will be hard to evaluate until 2020.