Violent crime in Philadelphia dropped 3 percent and property crime rose 4 percent in 2010, consistent with the trend in major cities but a departure from the double-digit declines of recent years, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey called it a “challenging year,” citing the city’s financial crisis that led to the slashing of overtime and the elimination of two Police Academy classes.
Homicides this year stood at 304 as yesterday, one short of the total in 2009. Ramsey said looking at trends over five- and 10-year periods was “a more accurate way of measuring whether you’re making the kind of progress you need to make. When you start to compare one year to the other, I don’t think that you can say that a city is more dangerous or safer.” Since the crack cocaine epidemic of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Philadelphia matches the national trend of falling homicide rates. Throughout the 1990s, Philadelphia averaged more than 400 homicides a year, topping out with 497 in 1990. In the 2000s, the city topped only in 2006, with 406. Ramsey said Philadelphia still has the highest rate of gun violence among major cities. Though gun robberies fell 9 percent in 2010, aggravated assaults with a gun jumped 5 percent.