Apparently cicadas don’t like bullets, either.
Unlike other areas across the region, the loud screams and discarded exoskeletons of Brood X aren’t likely to emerge in Philadelphia. But that’s okay, because the city has bigger problems to deal with.
On Sunday, a teenage girl was shot in the leg on Broad Street in yet another violent weekend for a city that has seen an ongoing surge of violence this year.
According to police, 238 people had been killed in homicides through Saturday, a 33% increase compared to this time last year and the highest pace since at least 2007, according to The Inquirer’s Chris Palmer, who covers law enforcement.
So far this year, there have been nearly 1,700 shooting incidents across the city, and more than 940 victims, an increase of 26% compared to last year, according to police data.
Philadelphia isn’t alone in the rise of violence. Homicide rates in large cities across the country were up more than 30% on average in 2020, and up another 24% for the beginning of this year, according to criminologists who spoke with the New York Times.
Conversely, property crime in Philadelphia — robbery, theft, commercial burglary — is down across the board compared to last year, according to police data, mostly due to businesses closing and people staying at home during the pandemic.
So if overall crime is down, what’s driving the surge in violence? Unlike what you hear on TV news, it’s complicated. Everything from the pandemic’s impact on the economy to gang violence to the weather have likely played a role in the rise random acts of violence.
Nearly 9,000 Americans have been killed by gunfire so far this year, including nearly 700 children under the age of 18, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group. That works out to a little over 54 shooting deaths per day. Per day.
“What we have is compounded trauma,” Shani Buggs, an assistant professor with the University of California at Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program, told the Washington Post. “The pandemic exacerbated all of the inequities we had in our country — along racial lines, health lines, social lines, economic lines. All of the drivers of gun violence pre-pandemic were just worsened last year.”
And experts expect things to get worse as the summer wears on.
Makes you wish the main problem the city faced were screaming bugs.
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