Philadelphia has recorded more than 360 homicides so far in what has become the city's deadliest year for gun violence in more than a decade.
Shooting incidents are up 57% over 2019 rates and the city is on par to pass 450 murders by the end of the year, 6 ABC reported. The number of homicide victims is the highest since 391 victims were recorded in 2007. CBS Philly reported that Philadelphia's homicide rate is now the highest since 1991.
Seven homicides occurred within a 24-hour period on Monday and Tuesday, which Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw called "tragic, shameful, and sickening," CBS Philly reported. Monday's shootings brought the 2020 homicide total above the numbers recorded throughout all of 2019.
"Just one murder is too many, and we must continue to work together within the community and with our city, state, and federal partners in order for lasting progress to be made," Outlaw said in a press conference.
Outlaw said there have been recent positive trends in bringing down homicide numbers, citing a 10% decrease in murders from September to October compared with August to September, CBS Philly reported.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis have exacerbated the problem of gun violence and that the city's administration is making efforts to address the crisis.
In January 2019, Kenney announced a gun violence prevention initiative and appropriated $4.4 million to address the city’s increasing homicide rate. In November of the same year, he approved an additional $5 million to implement the initiative in local communities impacted by gun violence.
Kenney and other city officials also plan to bring a lawsuit against Pennsylvania to abolish preemption, which the commonwealth of Pennsylvania has long used to prohibit Philadelphia from enforcing local gun laws.
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