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Shootings back on rise in South Philly neighborhoods

A screen shot of a heat map showing gun violence in Philadelphia.

Gun violence in South Philadelphia neighborhoods has seen an increase over the last few months, according to recent statistics released by the Office of the City Controller.

South Philly has witnessed 33 shootings, including eight fatalities, since July 1. That two-and-a-half-month span accounts for more than half of the shootings in South Philadelphia for the entire year (61) and more than half of the gun-related deaths (14) in neighborhoods south of South Street and east of the Schuylkill River.

Shootings in South Philly still pale in comparison to other parts of the city, as there have been 1,489 shooting victims throughout Philadelphia through Sept. 17. Of those shootings, 257 have resulted in a fatality, accounting for roughly 80 percent of the 325 total homicides in the city so far this year.

Philadelphia’s high number of shootings in 2020 has already eclipsed last year’s total of 1,472. And shooting deaths are on pace to surpass last year’s total of 303, which is the highest in at least five years.

Philadelphia’s citywide homicide total is also on pace to break records.

“Philadelphia is in the middle of a gun violence crisis,” said City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. “More than 1,400 Philadelphians have been shot this year, and we’re on target for the most homicides since 1997 if the current trend continues.”

Rhynhart’s office released these statistics on an interactive map on the City Controller’s website last week. The map is capable of breaking down shooting statistics by race, gender and age of the victims. It also gives information on which cases have court hearings as well as other tools such as heat maps and pinpoint locations to help residents better understand the location of the crimes committed. It includes detailed information dating to 2015 and will be updated daily.

“These victims are more than statistics. As a city, we’re failing them, their families and our communities,” Rhynhart said. “My office is committed to transparency and data analysis and our goal is to shine a light on issues that need immediate action. It is my hope that the City can use this to inform gun violence-reduction strategies and to pinpoint resources, while the public can use it to track the progress of those strategies and hold the administration accountable.”

The website gathers homicide information from the Philadelphia Police Department; shooting victim data from Open Data Philly; and court case information from the United Judicial System of Pennsylvania.

A closer look at heat maps shows that the Point Breeze and Grays Ferry neighborhoods continue to be hotspots for gun violence.

The area west of Broad Street and north of Snyder Avenue has accounted for 261 shootings since 2015, including 51 deaths. In 2020, 44 of the 61 South Philly shootings, including 11 of the 14 fatalities, have occurred in that area.

There have been 152 shootings since 2015 throughout the rest of South Philly, including 29 deaths.

Information and the mapping tool can be found on the City Controller’s website at https://controller.phila.gov/.

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