Pittsburgh and Philadelphia murder rates about the same, Pew study finds

 Allegheny County detectives look over the scene of a shooting March 10, 2016, in Wilkinsburg, Pa.   (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo)

Allegheny County detectives look over the scene of a shooting March 10, 2016, in Wilkinsburg, Pa. (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo)

New figures from the Pew Charitable Trusts find that Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have about the same per-capita homicide rate.

When looking at which city has more murders per 100,000 residents, Pittsburgh is slightly more dangerous than Philadelphia ― but only by about 1 percentage point.

Last year, 278 people were slain in Philadelphia, a city of about 1.5 million residents. Compare that to 56 homicides in Pittsburgh, which has a population of around 300,000.

Those statistics amount to a 17.7 percent homicide rate per 100,000 residents for Philadelphia, versus Pittsburgh’s 18.4 percent.

HOMICIDE-RIATE

Larry Eichel, who directs Pew’s Philadelphia research initiatives, said Pittsburgh has about a fifth of the population of Philly, so having roughly the same per-capita homicide rate is significant.

“If you look at it from the point of view of an individual person, how safe am I? How much at risk should I feel?” Eichel said. “The per-capita rate tells you that story.”

In Philadelphia, the study found that nine out of 10 of the city’s homicide victims were men. Nearly 80 percent were black residents with prior arrests. Most of those fatally shot were younger than 34.

Philadelphia’s overall homicide rate dropped from 2015, yet the number of those injured in gun violence did not decline.

In fact, It rose for the second consecutive year: 1,280 people were shot in 2016, up from 1,238 in 2015. Both figures are far lower than peaks reached in 2006, when the number of homicides and shootings hit historic high marks.

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