At 2:00 a.m. Monday Philadelphia recorded its 225th murder for 2013. The victim, 33-year-old Robert Rhines of North Hancock Street died from two gunshots to the chest. A second man survived four bullet wounds.
Rhines' murder still finds Philadelphia running far behind last year's pace. Philadelphia ended 2012 with 331 homicides. Unless there is some sort of massive outbreak of December violence, the city will end up with a murder reduction of somewhere between 35 to 40%.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey tells us, "We're on pace to have the lowest number of murders in this city since 1967."
Ramsey and other police department sources attribute the drop in homicides to last January's major command shakeup that saw more than 30 transfers at the level of captain and above, and more aggressive outreach to the usual suspects.
"We have shootings, for an example, we right away start looking at the possibility of retaliation," Ramsey explained. "If so, who's likely to retaliate? In what form would it likely take place? You know? Shooting, what have you, in what area?"
After 6 years at the helm, Commissioner Ramsey expects year-end statistics in all the major crime categories to be at modern record lows.
"All other crime is down as well - not just homicide, but all the other crime."