Will 2022 Be the Deadliest Year in Philly?

The love sign, located in Philadelphia, represents the saying “the city of brotherly love.”

The city of brotherly love, known as Philadelphia, has had 100 homicides since March 11, 2022. If this rate keeps going, 2022 will outpace last year’s deadliest year. By March 10, 2021 (March of last year), Philadelphia had 92 homicides. The city had 562 homicides in 2021, breaking the previous record of 500 killings reported in 1990. New York City, with five times as many people living there, had 488 homicides in 2021. Mayor Jim Kenney says, “The fact that our city has lost 100 souls already this year pains me to my core. As mayor, my number one priority is to keep people safe and protect our residents. The surge in gun violence that we’ve seen across the nation — and here in Philadelphia — is heartbreaking, it’s maddening, and it makes me as outraged as everyone else.”

Inside North Central Philadelphia, one can find the famous Temple University. While talking to a student going to Temple next year, AJ Neher, he has full faith that nothing bad will happen to him while he is on campus. He plans not to travel off-campus and knows that the school has good security. He is fully aware of the murder and crime rate that goes on. When asked if he is worried about going into the city with the increasing crime rates, he says, “I am not. Temple is a safe campus”. While interviewing a current student at Temple, Ryan Bashaar, she is usually within 1000 feet of crime where she is at, generally involving guns and robberies. Thankfully Ryan has not been a victim, but she did mention that she knows someone who was mugged and ended up brain dead. She lives in an apartment in Center City, Philadelphia. When asked if she ever feels fear walking around the city or to classes, her response is, “Yes, I’m mostly scared of creepy men approaching me since I’m a younger girl. But if not that, in Philly, robberies are very common so I make sure to be aware of my surroundings because of that.”

Although it could take years to find out the true reasons behind the increased numbers, events, such as the pandemic, economic upheaval, etc., have caused the type of mass anxiety and distress behind a widespread rise in gun crime. The increase is more concentrated in communities of color, where residents have long endured higher violence levels, alongside other systemic issues (more poverty and lower life expectancy). Rosalind Pichardo, the founder of the anti-violence group “Operation Save Our City,” says the main drivers of violence were social media “beef” and retaliatory shootings. Police stats show that while gun violence has increased, other crimes with no use of firearms — such as rapes and assaults — have decreased. So, what is being done about this? Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says, “We are devastated that 100 people have been murdered this year. PPD will continue to utilize every resource we have to stem this tide of violence and will not rest until we bring to justice those who seek to cause harm … to our city and its people; it is our No. 1 priority”.