PHILADELPHIA – President Donald Trump made a misleading claim when he told Republican lawmakers Thursday that Philadelphia's murder rate has been "terribly increasing."
Last year, the city logged 277 homicides. That was a slight decline from 2015, when the city had 280 homicides.
The numbers were up from 2013 and 2014. But in previous decades the homicide totals nearly always exceeded 300, and reached 500 in 1990. The city's population has remained relatively stable over that time.
Trump's full comments at the GOP meeting were: "Here in Philadelphia, the murder rate has been steady — I mean just terribly increasing."
It is true that the 27 homicides recorded for the month through Wednesday were the highest total for January since 2012. But a single month's numbers can't be used to predict how a year will end up.
Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, called the president's statement "an insult to the men and women of the Philadelphia police force."