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Tracking Philadelphia gun violence every day has been an exhausting experience — emotionally as well as practically — for the team at the Gun Crisis Reporting Project. So, we find great inspiration when we meet others who are doing the same.
Last month, we discovered Brady Watkins, a 22-year-old Criminal Justice and Political Science Major who will be graduating from Mansfield University in December.
Watkins follows Philadelphia media reports each month, as well as online news archives and court documents. He breaks down homicide reports statistically, looking at the geographic area, time of day, day of the week, gender, race, age, weapon used, and whether the homicide was solved or unsolved.
At the Gun Crisis Reporting Project, we followed 97 shooting incidents which left 115 people wounded or killed in Philadelphia during September, 2014, based on original reporting, media reports, police officials and other sources.
The Philadelphia Police Department recently posted its 2013 murder and shooting analysis, supporting earlier reports of tremendous gun violence reductions last year, but once again reporting that young black men were vastly overrepresented among the continuing victims.
During 2013, a total of 247 people were murdered in Philadelphia, down from 331 in 2012, representing a reduction of 25.4 percent.
However, 129 of those victims were killed during the second half of 2013, representing a 9.3 percent increase over the first six months, when 118 people were murdered.
The report identifies 77.3 percent of the murder victims as black, while the latest US Census report identified only 44.3 percent of the city’s population as black. And 90.7 percent of the victims were identified as male, compared with 47.2 percent of the population.
More than half of those killed — 57.9 percent — were between the ages of 18 and 34, while census data indicated that only 33.5 percent of residents were between ages 15 and 34, the closest statistical comparison available.
Total shooting victims declined from 1,279 in 2012 to 1,128 in 2013, representing a reduction of 11.8 percent. But age, gender and racial disparities were even more pronounced, with 83.9 percent of victims identified as black, 93 percent male, and 71.4 percent between the ages of 18 and 34.
Ninety-five 2013 shooting victims were 17 year of age or younger, including five victims who were no more than ten years old.
More than one in five — or 21.66 percent — of all shooting victims were fatally wounded. Four in ten fatally wounded shooting victims had suffered head wounds.
Most of the murders were committed with firearms — including 201 of 247 total homicides — or 81.37 percent. Of those, 98 percent were committed with handguns, while only four murders were committed with rifles or shotguns.
The report indicated that nearly three quarters of homicides took place outdoors and the almost half resulted from arguments. Three in ten shooting victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
You can compare the latest annual analysis with previous years and check other police data at phillypolice.com.
Top Photo: Emotions overcome a man at the scene of a fatal shooting in Frankford during the early morning hours of January 1st, 2013. The incident was already the city’s second homicide by gunfire of the new year. Photographs for the Gun Crisis Reporting Project by Joseph Kaczmarek.
Posted by Jim MacMillan