Philadelphia violent, property crime rates down amid COVID-19, police say

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Despite fears that a spreading outbreak could lead to lawlessness, the Philadelphia Police Department painted a completely different picture on Wednesday.

According to police, over the past month, crime has dropped to some of the lowest levels seen in years, making a sharp turn from the deadly start to 2020.

On Wednesday, police announced violent crime is down 6%. Property crime is down 14%.

But officials say not all crime is down. The number of shooting victims is up 22%, but all of this data taken over the past month is an improvement from the violent first few months of the year.

The department issued a new protocol to handling the coronavirus outbreak and non-violent offenders.

During a news conference earlier this month, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw addressed the new protocol.

"Persons who commit certain nonviolent offenses will be arrested at the scene. Once their identity has been confirmed, they will be released and processed via arrest warrant," Outlaw said.

According to Outlaw, this is similar to the 'summons process' that is utilized in many other counties throughout the Commonwealth.

She explained if the officer and supervisor believe the individual poses a threat to public safety, the suspect can be taken into custody for immediate processing.

"Officers will use discretion on how a person is processed," she said.
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