July 6, 2013
A dramatic drop in Philadelphia's homicide rate for the first half of the year is a welcome sign that a comprehensive strategy using all three legs of the local criminal justice system is working. That doesn't mean the police, courts, and prosecutors can rest on their laurels. Rather, they must continue their good work to ensure that the success so far isn't short-lived. For the first six months of the year, there have been 115 homicides, a 38 percent drop from the same period last year and the lowest midyear total in nearly half a century.
July 4, 2013 |
ATLANTIC CITY - It is summertime at the Shore, and children are swimming, surfing, boating, playing ball, and pursuing other warm-weather activities. But away from the beaches and the glitzy casino resorts, in the working-class and low-income neighborhoods where shootings are frequent and exposure to gangs and drugs is common, safe diversions may be tough to come by. So a $2.9 million indoor youth sports complex unveiled Tuesday inside an underutilized hall at the New Jersey National Guard Armory on Absecon Avenue could become a welcome oasis for neighborhood youths this summer, as well as children from throughout the region.
May 14, 2013
By Julie Stewart and Pat Nolan Faced with an intolerable level of gun violence in Philadelphia, many legislators feel an urgency to do something to fix the problem. But the new mandatory prison sentences for illegally carrying a gun in the city are not the answer. The bills, introduced by State Sen. Lawrence Farnese (D., Phila.) and State Rep. John Taylor (R., Phila.), would impose a two-year minimum prison sentence on individuals caught in the city with a gun that did not belong to them.
April 26, 2013
The Boston Marathon bombings have reminded Americans that we can never let down our guard against terrorism. But Mayor Nutter has rightly pointed out that the daily carnage from violent crime in the nation's cities also demands attention. Nutter wants to see violent crime, like terrorism, attacked from a national as well as a local perspective, opening the door for more federal aid for municipal police. America hasn't done much at the federal level to address violence since President Bill Clinton won congressional approval of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The bill was passed with support from law-and-order Republicans before Clinton was crippled by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
April 24, 2013
Mayor Nutter hailed the continued decline in crime across the city, drawing particular attention to the precipitous drop in homicides in the first three months of 2013. Nutter, appearing Monday before The Inquirer editorial board, cautioned that "a quarter does not make a year. " But the homicide and violent-crime stats for the first quarter of this year are the lowest of his 5+ years in office. ... Last year began with a violent three months, Nutter said, and the police "spent the rest of the year trying to recover.
March 19, 2013
AS LAST WEEK ended, after Mayor Nutter was the guest of honor at a virtual Whack-a-Mole festival, he turned and fired. Not at the Inquirer for its lengthy series documenting his failure to collect almost $300 million in unpaid real-estate taxes owed on 100,000 delinquent properties, not at unions that condemned him as a union buster, not at an acidic cartoon by Signe Wilkinson and a scornful column by Your Favorite Columnist. Instead, Nutter fired off a letter late Friday afternoon to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations that brutally bashed (better late than never?
January 29, 2013
AS A LIFELONG resident of this city I have seen and heard of a lot of things. What happened to me recently made me so mad that I wanted to get up and just leave this city. I received a $50 citation for putting out my trash early. Are you kidding me? The fact that the city wastes time and money on something like this is absurd. OK, so I find out that trash is not allowed out until after 7 p.m. and I put mine out around noon the day before. The reason is, I worked 2-11 that day and didn't want to have to do it at 11:30 when I got home.
January 17, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - Kathleen Kane, a former prosecutor from Lackawanna County, made history twice Tuesday when she took the oath as Pennsylvania attorney general, becoming the first woman and first Democrat elected to that post. With hundreds of people cramming the Capitol Rotunda floor and dozens gazing down from staircases three stories high, master of ceremonies Dan McCaffery, Kane's onetime rival, said to soaring applause: "You're witnessing history. " Thus, too, began an unusual dynamic in the Capitol.
January 2, 2013 |
When Mayor Nutter took office in 2008, he set some audacious goals for ending Philadelphia's long run as one of the nation's most violent big cities. Within two years, homicides had dropped by nearly a quarter and shootings by more than 15 percent. But the flush of early success has since been tempered by the city's toughest streets, where violent crime has proven once again to be deeply rooted. Progress in recent years has been more incremental. And with homicides - the most closely watched barometer of crime - ground has been lost.