Violent crime down in Philadelphia in ’14

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 Based on Department of Justice recommendations, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is calling for state investigations of police-involved shootings. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Based on Department of Justice recommendations, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is calling for state investigations of police-involved shootings. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia’s end-of-year crime statistics show the city had 248 murders — a rate virtually the same as that of 2013.

 

But as Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey sat in his conference room, going over the report with a fine-tooth comb, he said even one homicide is one too many.

“I don’t see it as something to brag about,” he said Friday. “I am glad that it’s not in the 300s or something like that, but it’s a negative statistic.

“All these statistics are negative. They mean somebody’s been a victim, somebody’s life has been forever changed because of crime,” Ramsey continued. “So if you ask the family members of the 248 if it’s good, they will say no one is too many — if it’s your family members.”

Ramsey pointed to a decline in the number of shootings in the past seven years of the Nutter administration as a positive trend.

“That’s the category I pay closer attention to than I do murder,” he said. “Shootings were down 7.2 percent last year and 34, almost 34.5 percent, since ’07.  The reason I look at shootings is that every shooting, potentially, is a homicide.”

Efforts now should focus on finding the means to continue cutting violent crime in the city, Ramsey said.

“What adjustments are the challenge now to push it down even further, because I don’t believe we are as low as we can go … that I don’t believe,” he said.

A city the size of Philadelphia should have about 200 homicides a year, Ramsey said, before reiterating that each one is one too many.

Police-involved shootings resulting in fatalities also dropped substantially in 2014 with only four compared with 11 in 2013.

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