The number of Philadelphia shooting victims has risen despite a police initiative launched in December to reduce gun violence. reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. From Dec. 19 through Feb. 5, there were 10.5 percent more shooting victims across the city compared with the same period the year before, and 12.5 percent more in the six “hot spots” designated for intensive policing. First Deputy Police Commissioner Patricia Giorgio Fox said the rise might be attributable to the exceptionally warm January.
Lawrence W. Sherman, director of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, said that “warmth is an essential part of criminological theory;” he tracked weather from September through mid-December and saw a partial correlation between higher temperatures and a spike in crime at the campus. Referring to Operation Safer Streets, he suggested: “If you didn’t have this program in place in December, there could have been all hell breaking loose.” He cautioned that New York also had warm weather last year and that it recorded the lowest number of homicides since 1963. In Philadelphia, Decembers since 1988 have brought the most homicides, which suggests warm weather alone is not a trigger for violence. Last year, Philadelphia had 380 homicides, the most since 1997.