City homicide rate drops in first eight months of 2023

Homicides in Philadelphia are falling this year amid declines in overall violent crime, according to police department data.

This could signal that violent crime in the city, which increased significantly during the pandemic, may finally have peaked.

More than halfway through the year, violent crime was down nearly 7% through Aug. 6 compared to the same period in 2022.

  • Homicides fell by 28%, robberies were down nearly 10% and rapes declined 9%.
  • While assaults with a gun have plummeted nearly 10% so far this year, other types of aggravated assaults ticked up by 1%.

Meanwhile, shootings declined by 23%. (Of note: Shootings are not included in the calculation for overall violent crime.)

But: Overall property crime incidents skyrocketed through Aug. 6 compared to the same time in 2022 — up nearly 24%, per police data. Car thefts spiked 105% and retail thefts jumped 34%.

Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Eric Gripp credited the drop in overall violent crime with a boost in the number of officers in a quartet of police districts in North Philly this year, which account for about 40% of the city's crime. Also, police reevaluated and adjusted their so-called "pinpoint grids" — hot spots where they deploy extensive violence-prevention tactics.

"To us, it's showing us that what we're doing is working," Gripp told Axios.

However, the department continues to struggle with understaffing. The department has about 5,500 cops but is budgeted for nearly 6,400.

Public safety was the top issue among polled Philadelphians in this year's primary for mayor and other offices. Concerns over crime and safety propelled voters to approve the creation of a new chief public safety director.

From Axios