If there’s going to be any sort of rivalry between Philadelphia and Baltimore it should involve the Eagles and the Ravens, not who can run up the highest body count. All joking aside, since this is obviously no laughing matter, things are getting seriously bad in the City of Brotherly Love. We’re only halfway through the first month of 2020 and Philadelphia was averaging more than a murder per day as of Tuesday. (CBS Philadelphia)
After a violent weekend and another shooting on Monday, the homicide rate in Philadelphia soars to 15, making the number of killings more than the number of days into the new year. There were eight homicides in less than 48 hours as a violent weekend was met with yet another homicide when a 19-year-old was killed in West Oak Lane before noon Monday.
“What we are doing now is investigating shootings and homicides. We have our community crisis people in the neighborhoods, trying to get an idea of what is going on and to stop retaliation,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said.
“At the end of the day it comes down to folks feel, like I do, who have had enough,” Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter said.
What’s truly alarming is the brazen nature of many of the killings that appear to be gang-related. They’re taking place out on the streets in broad daylight, producing collateral damage as they go. This includes an 18-month-old little boy whose head was grazed by a bullet earlier this week. Had he move only an inch or so he would have been dead.
Not all of the killings this year have been directly related to gang activity. One woman was stabbed to death in her home by her ex-boyfriend in a clear act of domestic violence. But the mayhem has definitely been pervasive.
Not to put too fine of a point on this, but there’s one person who bears responsibility here and whose job it is to come up with a solution. That would be Mayor Jim Kenney. Keep in mind that Kenney was elected in 2016 on a platform of RESISTing Donald Trump, taxing sugary drinks, opening up supervised, public drug injection sites and getting the police under control.
Absent from most of his campaign speeches was anything about tamping down gang violence or actually supporting law enforcement. And what has happened since his election? Philadelphia, like much of the nation, had been experiencing a gradual decrease in violent crime over the past couple of decades. In 2013 they had manged to get the body count down to 246 from a record high of 505 back in 1990. But since Kenney’s election, the number of murders in the city rose from 277 in 2016 to 315 in 2017 to 351 in 2018 and finally 356 last year. And if they keep up with the killing at the current rate they will be on track to set yet another record this year.
Whether you want to lay the blame for this steady, bloody trend directly on the shoulders of the mayor and his policies or not, the responsibility lands on his desk. And just as with the situation in Baltimore Maryland, we see landslide electoral victories for liberal Democrats who crack down on the police more than the criminals being followed by increases in gang violence and murder. Voters need to connect the dots and do better.