Philadelphia Had a Violent 2020 and is Witnessing Rising Homicide Numbers

Philadelphia has had a rough 2020 as far as homicides were concerned. According to a report by Chris Palmer of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the annual total for homicides in the city was almost 500. Similar scenarios have taken place across American largely due to unrest from the Wuhan virus pandemic and many cities’ decisions to implement lax policies to fight crime. 

Philadelphia’s homicide count as of December 31, 2020, stood at 499. This number is 40 percent higher than in 2019 and represents a greater total of homicides recorded than the years of 2013 and 2014 combined. The last time more people were murdered was during 1990, when law enforcement reported 500 homicides. This number took place against the background of the crack-cocaine epidemic.

The increase in shootings was even more significant. Over 2,240 people were victims of shootings from January 1 to December 31 of last year. Law enforcement were quick to blame the increase of firearms in circulation. In 2020, there were 2,300 arrests related to illegal firearm possession, which is double the number from 2015.

Palmer outlined how Philadelphia’s current crime problem is not an isolated development. It’s a national trend:

Philadelphia is far from alone in experiencing a homicide spike. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington are among the urban centers recording a surge in violence.

The Council on Criminal Justice, a D.C.-based research group, found that homicides in 21 American cities were up 32% between March and October compared with 2019. And some analysts believe 2020 could record the largest-ever single-year increase in murders in the United States.

Since the rise of “the Ferguson effect” following the death of Michael Brown in a confrontation with the police in Ferguson, Missouri, police have become more hesitant to use more proactive methods in stopping crime. Combined with a growing push for gun control across the nation, many lawful citizens simply have little recourse to defend themselves against criminals. Hence, the surge in crime.

Something will eventually have to give. Criminal activity can only go on for so long until there is a heavy-handed reaction.


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