Philadelphia records more than 300 homicides so far this year, breaking decade record

It is the first time in more than a decade that Philadelphia passed the grim 300-homicide milestone this early in a year

Philadelphia broke a grim, decade-long record this week after recording more than 300 homicides in the first six and half months of the year. 

"Another quiet summer evening has been shattered by gun violence," said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. "People have a right to feel safe in their neighborhoods, and we refuse to stand idly by while yet another child has their life forever changed by a coward with a gun."

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The number of homicides increased Thursday night after two men in the city were killed, including a man in his 20s who was shot in North Philadelphia and a 21-year-old man who was shot in the shoulder in Hunting Park and later pronounced dead.

A 14-year-old girl was also shot and injured by a stray bullet while sitting on her porch Thursday evening. 

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It is the first time in more than a decade that Philadelphia passed the grim 300-homicide milestone this early in a year. 

The number of homicides in 2021 also already surpasses the total number of homicides in 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. Homicides in in the City of Brotherly Love are up by 30% this year compared to the same time span in 2020, data show.  

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Mayor Jim Kenney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the homicides. 

Philadelphia’s surging homicides come as other cities report increases in violent crimes, including in Washington, D.C., where carjackings have shot up by nearly 74% this year when compared to 2020 data.

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Police in D.C. have announced a task force that employs "bait cars" to combat the carjackings, which have often been perpetrated by teenagers. 

"We do deploy bait cars at times. Most recently at the 2nd District they use it but we want to make sure that the tactic certainly works for the specific crime we happen to be targeting at that particular time," D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said Tuesday.