Philadelphia homicides are at the lowest midyear total in nearly half a century, putting the city in reach of a modern-day low at year’s end, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. As of Saturday, police had recorded 115 homicides, a 38 percent drop from the same period last year. The half-year figures are a promising sign for a city that in recent years has held the dubious distinction of being the nation’s most violent big city.
Mayor Michael Nutter, police officials, and prosecutors, along with criminal-justice experts, say the decrease in homicides reflects a new emphasis on data-driven policing, a crackdown on gun criminals, and sweeping reforms in the criminal courts. Police and prosecutors have targeted “hot spots.” With sophisticated computer mapping and data analysis, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said his department has begun to anticipate crime trends and get ahead of them.