Philadelphia’s violent crime drops

    The city saw 302 murders so far in 2009, down from 333 in 2008.

    Violent crime in Philadelphia is down compared to previous years. Philadelphia Police commissioner Charles Ramsey said preliminary figures for 2009 show a 10% decrease overall in violent crimes from 2008.

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    [audio: 091230spcrime.mp3]

    Criminologists have all sorts of theories about why violent crime rates go up or down. For the past two years, Police Commissioner Ramsey has targeted the high crime districts with greater police presence.

    Philadelphia saw 302 murders so far in 2009, down from 333 in 2008.

    The city’s reduction matches a nationwide trend. FBI crime figures for the first half of 2009 show crime falling across the country. Murder and manslaughter fell 10% for the first half of the year.

    Ralph Taylor is a criminology professor at Temple University. Taylor says the police commissioner’s policies contribute to the decline. And he says studies suggest an increase in immigration could also contribute.

    Taylor: What the study in Chicago is saying is that immigrant communities have very strong social communities and strong social capital and that is associated with less violence.

    The most recent census figures show Philadelphia’s foreign born population at 11% of the population. New York City also  has seen a record-setting year for crime, murders in that city are down 11%. And their foreign born population is much higher — at 36%.

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