Jesus Take The Wheel: Bloody Cycle Of Violence In Philadelphia Leaves The City With The Highest Homicide Rate In The Country

- By Bossip Staff

SMH at news outlets calling it “Kill-adelphia”…It’s not even the end of February and Philly has had more homicides than there have been days in 2012:

Out of the nation’s 10 largest cities, Philadelphia’s homicide rate is the worst. Last year ended with 324 homicides, up from 306 in 2010. And just one month into this year, there has been on average more than one homicide each day in Philadelphia, with many of the 34 deaths unfolding like episodes on “Law & Order.”

A man ambushed a car packed with teens — killing three of them — for feuding with his stepsons.

A pizza delivery man was shot in the back during a robbery.

Another man was beaten to death hailing a cab on a busy downtown street.

Then there was the retribution killing of Fernandez-Rivera, the store clerk and alleged murder witness. Aside from the murders, there have been ruthless beatings. On January 2, an off-duty police officer and Iraq war veteran was punched and kicked until he was unconscious outside a landmark restaurant after the Winter Classic hockey game. A couple of weeks later, a 64-year-old Vietnam veteran on his way to meet his wife at the bus stop was attacked and robbed by two teens. “I think folks are desperate. I think they’re desperate and come from a culture where they learn the way to handle an argument is with a gun,” said Chuck Williams, director of the Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence at Drexel University.

Williams, an education professor at Drexel University, works with educators and youth to prevent school fights, shootings and cyberbullying. “Although the streets don’t offer anything positive, to a lot of the young people, a lot of the boys, the young black men, (the streets are) consistent,” he said. “They know where they stand (on the streets).”

Philadelphia’s mayor has made it clear the city is waging an all-out war against violent criminals. “If you want to act like an idiot, if you want to be an a-hole, if you want to be a low-life in this town, we will track you down like the dog that you are,” Mayor Michael Nutter told CNN affiliate KYW last month. At the end of January, city officials unveiled new crimefighting measures, including a reward of $20,000 for information solving a homicide and $500 for locating illegal guns, plus funding for the witness assistance program and increasing police presence.

The city’s daily violence has news outlets once again branding the city “Kill-adelphia.” Public safety advocate Anthony Murphy said the moniker is unfair. He urged critics to “look beyond the body count.” “We aren’t all going out shooting each other randomly. Things have happened, yes. There’s a challenge, yes. But Kill-adelphia? No. Should you be afraid to be in Philadelphia? No,” said Murphy, executive director for Town Watch Integrated Services, an organization of volunteers who patrol neighborhoods. “Police can’t do everything. We have a responsibility to address the challenges in our community.”

That responsibility, Murphy said, starts with establishing a positive foundation for youth, particularly when it comes to conflict resolution. Arguments are the leading motive for murder, and blacks make up nearly 84% of the homicide victims, according to police data. Stopping arguments from escalating to deadly violence is a priority at City Hall. “Prevention (is) a key portion of what we’re doing,” said Everett Gillison, Nutter’s chief of staff and deputy mayor for public safety. “But also just getting the community to act as one and come forward and say ‘enough is enough. This stuff has got to stop.’ “

True, indeed. This violence MUST stop.


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