Last Updated on December 21, 2022
With just 11 days left in 2022, the City of Philadelphia has again recorded the grisly milestone of 500 homicides in 2022. Though homicides are slightly down when compared with a record-setting 2021, last year marked the first time Philadelphia been the site of 500 murders since 1990.
Philadelphia has seen a dramatic rise in homicides since 2018, with the crisis accelerating out of control in 2020 and continuing now into 2023. Though homicide rates have spiked across the board in America’s cities, Philadelphia’s crime spike has made it the most dangerous city among those with more than 1 million residents.
After a rapid decline in crime following the last spike in the late 2000’s, Philadelphia recorded 246 homicides in 2013. After spiking incrementally in each of the following years, the murder rate accelerated in 2020.
The city fell just short of the tragic 500 murder milestone in that year, with law enforcement data recording 499 homicides. In 2021, the city soared past the deadly milestone with 562 murders and has again crossed that threshold with 502 as of December 21.
In total, murder is down seven percent when compared with the same time in 2021, though homicide and related violent crime rates remains significantly higher than pre-2020 levels.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw stated that violence remains at “unacceptable” levels, though she to the seven percent reduction as an accomplishment during a press conference on Tuesday. Outlaw — who previously served as top law enforcement official in Portland, Oregon — also pointed to a slight uptick in the number of solved gun cases as another glimmer of hope.
So far this year, 23% of nonfatal shootings have been solved, compared with 19% in 2021, and 47% of homicides have been solved, compared with less than 43% last year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Mayor Jim Kenney blamed the violent crime epidemic on Pennsylvania gun laws and talked up the slight reduction in Philadelphia homicides. “As long as you keep allowing guns to be in people’s hands,” he said, “they are going to use them in bad circumstances.”
Critics have blamed the policies of Soros-backed District Attorney Larry Krasner, who took office in 2018. Krasner has become notorious for light sentencing deals and elimination of bail for numerous crimes that has led to several violent felons being placed back on the streets only to kill again.