Philadelphia recorded its 499th homicide in 2021 on Tuesday, with authorities predicting that the number will likely cross 500 before the end of the year, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The murder rate in the city is 13 percent higher than it was at the same time last year, according to official data from the Philadelphia Police Department and, per the Inquirer, 55 percent higher than in 2019. The number of homicides so far this year has also surpassed the totals for 2013 and 2014 combined.
Philadelphia leaders held a press conference on Wednesday to address the rising gun violence crisis in the city following the death of the most recent victim, Sykea Patton, who was 24 years old.
Patton was shot in front of her twin five-year-old children on Friday afternoon.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney described Patton's death as a "cowardly and heartbreaking shooting."
"I'm personally heartbroken and outraged that we lost 500 Philadelphians, including many of our children and teenagers, to needless violence this year," Kenney said, adding that the ongoing gun violence crisis int he city is deeply "unsettling and painful."
"I never stop thinking about the victims and their families and the incredible loss these senseless deaths leave behind," he said.
The last time the city reached 500 homicides was in 1990, during the crack cocaine epidemic, the Inquirer reported.
On Wednesday, Kenney laid the blame for the rising homicide rate on the number of guns in the city.
"The volume of guns that are in circulation in o... (Read more)
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