Philly murder rate on the decline?

March 16, 2008 5:48:53 PM PDT
Sunday saw the 57th murder in Philadelphia so far this year, compared to 78 this same time last year. There are a number of reasons for the decline in homicides, depending on who you ask. A little more than two months after Commissioner Ramsey announced a new crime fighting strategy for the city, the homicide numbers seem to be declining. Murders are down 28-percent from what they were last year.

Gerald Benson of West Philadelphia says, "That's something that we all need to praise. It's very good that the homicide rate has gone down because there's too much violence on the street. I mean senseless violence over nothing."

Police officials say the drop may have to do with more police on the streets. Ramsey promised there would be 200 more police officers on the streets by the spring and that the city would expand the number of surveillance cameras from 26 to 250 within a year.

Mayor Michael Nutter also called for more aggressive crime fighting measures during his campaign.

Residents say they don't need to see numbers to see proof. They've already seen a big difference on the streets since the beginning of the year.

But some say it is too soon to judge how or if the changes are working. "I think some of it's the new administration, I think some of it's the new mayor but I think some of it is that it's cold. I know it's sad but I'm skeptical until it's summertime," says Matt Wanamaker.

Beth Evanoff also says if the numbers are still down in the summertime, she'd be more confident the crime plan is working. After living in Washington DC while Ramsey was leading the police force there she is hopeful we'll see positive change.

Evanoff says, "I was in a few different neighborhoods and I hope the same happens for Philly."