Philadelphia City Council reviews hiking bail for gun crimes

Beginning this year, Philadelphia has been charging higher bail to people arrested on gun crimes.  While it’s too soon to know how that’s working, City Council held a hearing on the issue. 

Philadelphia Public Safety Director Michael Resnick says when those accused of gun crimes are given high bail and are held for trial in other cities, the murder rate goes down.

“Since May 2011 in St. Louis Missouri, a judge has been setting $30,000 cash bail in certain gun cases,” said Resnick. “Since this practice has gone into effect, the city of St Louis has experienced a 20 percent reduction in the homicide rate.”

First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann says many criminals arrested on gun charges in Philadelphia don’t worry about losing bail money for skipping a court date.

“Pre-trial services are woefully underfunded they are not capable of monitoring defendants the way they need to be monitored to change the culture of the lack of respect for the court subpoena.”

Last year, the average bail in for gun arrests Philadelphia was $11,000.  Since the first of this year it has been increased to $25,000 under an initiative started by DA Seth Williams.

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