Philly homicides down 20% in 2023, DA Larry Krasner says end of COVID restrictions helped

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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said a major drop in the murder rate in 2023 is a sign the COVID recovery is working in Philadelphia.

Homicides in the city jumped by more than a hundred in 2020 to 499. Murders peaked at 562 in 2021 before falling to 514 in 2022. In 2023, the number dropped again, as 410 people were killed on Philly streets.

“That is down 150 from two years before,” Krasner said in an interview Thursday with WHYY News. The DA said there are just too many guns out on the streets, which was fueled by purchases made by people during the pandemic.

He said increased shootings is the natural result “when you give everybody a gun — and there’s more guns every day than there were before — and you have right-wing maniacs, doing what the NRA tells them as the lobbying group for the for-profit arms industry.”

Krasner said the number of legal firearms is rising, alongside the number of ghost guns, weapons that can be bought online and assembled at home.

“For every gun that is taken off the street by police — and this is according to both PPD and the state AG’s Office, at least Pennsylvania — there are two or three guns that are legally purchased from gun shops to replace them. And that doesn’t even count the ghost guns, doesn’t even count the illegal gun market, which is enormous.”

  • January 4, 2024
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