When it comes to violent crime among America’s largest cities, Philadelphia is the worst, this week’s new FBI compilation for 2005 shows, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. In Philadelphia last year, violent crime was up 3.4 percent, including a 15 percent increase in homicides. Lawrence W. Sherman of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, said that rankings among the city’s 10 largest cities make Philadelphia look bad, but that there are far more dangerous cities. “They’re sticking out like a sore thumb because some of the larger cities have become some of the safer cities,” Sherman said.
If Philadelphia, with a population of 1.47 million, is compared with cities closer to 100,000 in population, not just those with about one million or more, the city is nearer to the middle of the list in violent crime, Sherman said. Detroit, for example, has a population of 900,000 and doesn’t make the list of the top 10 largest cities, but would replace Philadelphia as the worst of the worst if the list were expanded to the 12 largest cities. Detroit has 2,358 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, compared with Philadelphia’s 1,467 per 100,000 residents. Among the larger cities, Sherman said, Philadelphia has a high crime rate for various reasons. “We have the poorest population,” he said. In addition, he said, the commissioner in Philadelphia does not have the same freedom to deploy police and make top appointments as do law enforcement officials in other cities, such as New York and Los Angeles.