Philadelphia still suffering higher homicide rate than largest US cities, but also showing greater progress

A Philadelphia

A Philadelphia Police investigator looks at a jacket left at the scene of a fatal shooting on New Year’s Eve. Photograph for the Gun Crisis Reporting Project by Joseph Kaczmarek.

According to year-end data from the Philadelphia Police Department, 247 people were murdered in 2013, representing an unprecedented decrease of 85 victims — or more than 25 percent fewer deaths — when compared with 2012.

New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago have also seen vast year-to-year reductions:

At the same time, Philadelphia continues to suffer a higher rate of homicide per capita when compared with the same cities. Philadelphia’s rate of 15.96 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2013 remains slightly higher than Chicago’s rate and four times higher than New York City.

However, Philadelphia showed greater year-to-year progress in homicide reduction, by some measures. The city’s rate of homicide per capita was reduced by almost 5.5 percent in 2013, greater than reductions found in Chicago and New York, and more than four times the progress made in Los Angeles. This represents a 25.6 percent decrease in homicide per capita, which also stands above the larger cities.

Per capita calculations are based on the latest (2012) city population estimates from Philadelphia: 1,547,607 • New York City: 8,336,697 • Los Angeles: 3,857,799 • Chicago: 2,714,856

Philadelphia data was taken from and the totals from other cities were taken from recent Associated Press and Wall Street Journal reports.

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