After some recent improvement in gun homicide numbers, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner says this past week was “very rough.”
At least 404 people have been murdered in 2021 — up 18% from this time last year.
Specifically, from Sept. 18 to 24, there were 14 homicides and 33 nonfatal shootings. That amounts to a higher homicide rate than the already-high rate — 1.5 shootings a week, on average — the city has seen throughout the pandemic.
The cases included a double and triple shooting. Krasner acknowledged the high incidence of crimes like these is frightening people, especially those living in the neighborhoods most impacted by the violence. But, as he has throughout his tenure as DA, he advised against responding with more aggressive sentencing.
“We did not get here overnight,” he said. “We have [historically] done a very good job in Philadelphia … of not fixing the problem, so we have to invest heavily in prevention.”
Krasner notes rates of crime and violent crime are actually down this year. But there has been what he calls a “terrible spike” in gun violence, which is categorized separately.
Despite his aversion to punishment-based strategies for preventing violence, he said that is still part of what his office is doing.
“There will be consequences if you decide to shoot someone,” he said. “If you are caught, you will be tried, and you will be held accountable.”
He says one bright spot this week was 16 homicide arrests, which is much higher than average.
Get daily updates from WHYY News!