Amid rising gun crime in Philly, DA Larry Krasner blasts low bail
DA Larry Krasner said bail amounts for those arrested for gun crimes must be increased to help prevent the type of violence that led to nearly 500 murders last year.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Monday blasted bail commissioners for setting lower bails than his office routinely seeks for those charged with gun crimes at a time when the city is besieged by near-record gun violence.
While his office often has asked for million-dollar bails for those charged with violent gun crimes — with suspects typically having to pay 10% of that amount — the median bail last week for those arrested for possession of a gun was just $110,000, and $150,000 for those arrested for a violent offense involving a gun, Krasner said during a news conference in West Philadelphia with community leaders and anticrime activists.
“I’m not saying that’s a tiny amount of money, but what I am saying is for people who have resources, including criminals who are deriving substantial profit from illegal activity, this is not a hard thing to pay,” he said. As a result, he said, many of those accused of gun crimes are back on the street while awaiting trial.
Within 60 days, his office will release a report that will explore the impact bail amounts are having on crime, Krasner said during the first of what he said would be weekly press conferences to keep the public apprised on his offices’ efforts to combat violence.
From Jan. 3 through Jan. 9, there were six homicides in the city, 18 nonfatal shootings, 114 newly opened cases involving guns or gun violence, and 121 arrests, according to the DA Office’s Data Lab, said Krasner, who is seeking reelection.
Since Jan. 1, 13 slayings have been reported, an 86 percent increase from the same time last year, according to the Philadelphia Police Department.
In addition, 54 people have been shot in the city this year, according to police, including 19 people shot on Saturday and Sunday.
Last year, police said, 499 people were killed in homicides, the second-most in one year in the city’s history, and more than 2,200 people were shot. Authorities blamed a variety of factors, including some connected to the coronavirus pandemic.
Krasner and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw have pledged that their agencies are working more closely together to examine gun-related arrests in an effort to stem the violence.
But to date, there has been just one arrest in this year’s slayings, according to police.
“Not solving these murders is perpetuating the murdering,” said Stanley Crawford, a founder of the Families of Unsolved Murders Project, a grassroots initiative launched last year to bring attention to the fact that most city slayings go unsolved.
“The mayor, the police commissioner, the DA and community activists like myself are not sitting down at the table and really hashing out a strategy to deal with this murders. There’s no coordination on any level to do anything about the murders,” said Crawford, who did not attend Krasner’s news conference.
Crawford noted that while most of this year’s homicide victims are Black, the only arrest was made in the slaying of a white person.
That victim, Rudolph Ebinger, 37, of the 2300 block of Front Street, was the first victim of the year. Police said he was shot in the thigh in the 100 block Ritner Street at 12:30 a.m. He was pronounced dead within an hour at Jefferson University Hospital.
William Croumbley, 27, who lived at the address where the shooting took place, was arrested and charged with murder and related offenses, police said. Court records indicate that Croumbley was awaiting trial for DUI at the time of his arrest, and in 2017 he was sentenced to six months of house arrest for carrying a gun without a license.
The latest homicides took place on Sunday.
Christopher Williams, 43, was found by police with two gunshot wounds to the head in the bathroom of an apartment in the unit block of Farson Street at 8:44 p.m. Williams, of the 5000 block of Market Street, was transported by medics to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died, police said.
Six hours earlier, Jacque Warren, 30, was fatally shot at 2:43 p.m. in the 5200 Cedar Avenue. The gunman, who has not been identified, shot Warren on the highway, once in the head, once in the neck and once in the left arm, police said.
Warren, of the 1000 block of South 51st Street, was driven in a private vehicle to Mercy Hospital and died.