Philadelphia recorded 2,004 shooting victims last year. That is the most the city has recorded since 2001, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. Last year’s total was 31 percent higher than the 1,528 recorded in 2001. On average, about five people were shot every day in the City of Brotherly Love. Of the total, 235 were under 18. An additional 895 – nearly 45 percent – were ages 18 to 25. More than 75 percent – 1,509 – of the shooting victims were black males.
In 2006, police confiscated 5,386 guns, 7 percent more than the 5,028 guns seized in 2005. “I don’t recall another year when we confiscated so many guns,” said Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, a 42-year veteran of the force. Criminologist Lawrence Sherman of the University of Pennsylvania noted that many of the shootings occurred in Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods, which are mainly African American. “We have to recognize the role of concentrated black poverty,” said Sherman, director of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology. He said the increasing violence reflected “a systematic placement of black males at the bottom of the social structure,” where they feel rejected and become prone to violent behavior. With shootings heavily confined to poor, black neighborhoods, “the untold story, the story the hotels want you to write,” Sherman said, is that Philadelphia is “a very safe place for white people.”