January 5, 2015 |
When Philadelphia's murder total fell to a historic low in 2013, officials believed it was no fluke. Now, with 2014 at the same rate - and other violence also down - experts say the city is indeed getting safer. With 248 slain, the toll is one above last year's - and a 25 percent drop from 2012. But statistics show police in 2014 solved fewer killings than in 2013. Overall, violent crime fell 7 percent. The number of people who were shot but survived fell to 1,047 this year from 1,128 in 2013, down 7 percent.
December 17, 2014 |
WHATEVER REASON we eventually settle on for the latest deadly shooting spree, this time in Montgomery County yesterday - mental illness, easy access to guns, a world gone mad - we know one thing for sure: A gun shattered families, a community and our sense of safety. A gun. Again. Just hours after the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, and in the midst of a siege in Sydney, Australia, that eventually ended with three dead, including the assailant, another shooting spree unfolded closer to home.
November 20, 2014 |
You'll know Philadelphia CeaseFire's newest tool to combat gun violence when you see it. A converted 33-foot 1995 Winnebago branded with the words "Stop. Shooting. People. " doesn't exactly blend in. And that's the point. "This tool gives us a constant opportunity to show residents and those just driving by that we're really out here, on the streets, working toward a reduction in youth violence," said program director Marla Davis Bellamy. Bellamy spoke Tuesday outside Temple University's Student Faculty Center at 3300 N. Broad St., moments after the ribbon was cut on the mobile office by State Sen. Shirley Kitchen and Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke.
November 12, 2014 |
THE CITIZENS up north in Potter County or in Greene County, about 300 miles west of Philadelphia, can usually count the number of annual homicides with one or two fingers. But any law-abiding citizen able to own a handgun there or anywhere else in Pennsylvania could file a lawsuit against Philadelphia, even if he's never been here, to challenge local firearms ordinances, thanks to a statute backed by the National Rifle Association that was signed into law by Gov. Corbett last week.
November 4, 2014 |
Under cover of night and in the final moments of the legislative session, lawmakers in Harrisburg robbed Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and other communities of a weapon in their fight against gun violence. The legislature approved a bill allowing the National Rifle Association and others to sue cities and towns over gun ordinances - and, even more outrageously, forcing local governments to cover their legal costs. The process was as questionable as the result. The provision was smuggled into an unrelated bill on metal theft, and at one point the Senate voted to bypass a good-government rule requiring it to end voting at 11 p.m. The law will hamper local efforts to deal with illegal guns in a state that does little to help cities beset by violence.
October 22, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - In the final minutes of the legislative session, the House on Monday approved a bill clearing the way for the National Rifle Association and other groups to sue local municipalities, among them Philadelphia, that enact ordinances stricter than state firearms laws. The bill, approved by a 138-56 vote, will grant legal standing to "membership organizations" to sue over local gun laws, and collect legal fees and other costs if they win. Mayor Nutter said Monday before the vote that he was "profoundly opposed" to the bill, which he said increases the vulnerability of municipalities trying to combat gun violence to lawsuits by pro-gun advocates.
October 18, 2014 |
HARRISBURG - The state Senate closed out its 2013-14 session by passing more than a dozen pieces of legislation, many of them crime-related, including bills covering local gun ordinances, domestic violence, and animal cruelty. Most of the bills approved Thursday are headed for Gov. Corbett's desk, but others must receive final votes in the House, which returns for its last voting day Monday. Among the most controversial pieces of legislation moved by the Senate was a measure to give legal standing to "membership organizations," including the National Rifle Association, to sue municipalities if they enact gun laws stricter than state law. Philadelphia is one of 30 municipalities that have enacted ordinances mandating the reporting of lost and stolen weapons over the last several years since efforts failed to win passage of state gun-control laws.
September 18, 2014
USUALLY it takes us at least a week or two after Harrisburg comes back to work after the summer to get exasperated or outraged at our state lawmakers. But this time, it's taken less than 24 hours. Lawmakers returned Monday from summer break; they'll convene for 11 days between now and late October, before another break for the election. (The Senate will convene a total of 10 days.) And, no, that's not even what we're upset about. Nor is it that the cigarette tax needed for the schools still hasn't passed; it is at least moving toward a vote.
September 17, 2014 |
YOU HAVE TO give Philadelphia police officers credit for attending Fox Chase Community Night Out, part of a national anti-violence event to fight crime. And it's no surprise that the uniformed SWAT cops came armed with a few "toys" to attract residents to their table - a police van, a helmet, a couple of bulletproof vests. But when one of the toys is a semiautomatic rifle, you have to be stunned at the imprudence of putting the gun in the hands of children. Marion Brown certainly was. Besides being a Fox Chase resident, Brown is a co-coordinator of a local chapter of Heeding God's Call, a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence.