Despite violent night, overall crime down in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - July 10, 2013

The overnight shootings left three people dead and another critically wounded.

The first victim was shot as he opened the front door to his apartment in the 7200 block of Ogontz Avenue just before 10:00 p.m. Tuesday in West Oak Lane. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

An hour or so later, two men were shot on North 5th Street in Olney just feet from the J.R. Lowell Elementary School.

A 21-year-old man was shot in the chest. He was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.

An 18-year-old was shot four times and rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

The third shoting happened on the 2500 block of North Marston Street in Strawberry Mansion around 2:00 a.m.

A 33-year-old man was sitting outside of the home when gunmen approached and shot him several times. He too was pronounced dead at the hospital.

No arrests have been made in any of the shootings.

Of the three shootings, two of the cases appear to be related to domestic disputes and another appears to have been a random robbery.

However despite last night's incidents, police say the rate of violent crime overall has been down in many areas of the city.

"We're still very mindful that we have six more months to go. We're not celebrating by any stretch of the imagination, not at all," said Lt. John Standford.

Residents of one neighborhood say a crime wave has them living in fear.

"We shouldn't have to be subjected to coming outside our doors, hurrying to jump inside our cars because the things we worked hard for have been taken by those who don't," said Antoinette Reynolds.

While some say things are getting worse in their neighborhoods, the overall numbers tell a different story.

Homicides are down 35 percent from the same period last year, on track for an all time low.

Shootings are down nine percent and violent crime of all categories is down six percent.

The only category seeing a spike is rape, which is up 21 percent.

However police say that's only because of a new classification system. "The uniform crimes reporting code was changed by the FBI so there are certain crimes that fall into the rape category that didn't in the previous year," said Lt. Stanford.

The dramatic drop in murders coincides with a new aggressive effort to target hot spots around the city.

Authorities say it's paying off, but they're far from declaring victory. "It's a time to continue to focus on the mission at hand, focus on the strategies and keep everything in place so that the numbers for the second half of the year will reflect that of the first half," said Lt. Stanford.

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