Faced with a spike in shootings and killings, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is putting more officers on the street overnight, when most violent crime occurs, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Halfway through a sweltering summer and with millions in budget cuts looming, Ramsey turned to the strategy as a way to hold on to some of the progress made in recent years to bring down the crime rate.
To increase police presence in troubled neighborhoods without incurring overtime, the department will begin moving the start times for some officers’ shifts by four hours. That change, which will take place no more than six times a year for any officer, allows commanders to beef up patrols between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. The city’s homicide count stood at 171 yesterday morning, up from 158 a year earlier. Nonfatal shootings are also on the rise, 905 compared with 788 a year ago. The numbers don’t approach the city’s 2007 figures, when Ramsey joined the department. That year, the city had 224 homicides by mid-July.