Philadelphia police

Property and Violent Crime Significantly Higher in Philadelphia in 2020

But the city saw a decrease in reported crime during the first full week of the coronavirus pandemic.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Crime in Philadelphia is up by double-digit percentages -- across the spectrum of illegal activity -- in the first three months of 2020 when compared to the same period last year, according to new statistics released by the Philadelphia Police Department Monday.

Property crimes and violent crimes are up 16% and 11%, respectively, the statistics show. The largest increases among each category: Retail theft is up 59%, and aggravated assault is up 20%.

The increases have occurred despite a dip in crime during the city’s first full week amid the coronavirus outbreak.

City Managing Director Brian Abernathy said police officers have been deployed in more visible posts along commercial corridors to prevent property crime during the coronavirus outbreak.

Only two of 14 crime types reported in the data declined through March 22, 2020 when compared to last year: rape (down 6%) and residential burglary (down 7%).

A spokesman for the Philadelphia police department declined to identify any causes for the uptick in crime this year.

“At this point, it is difficult to provide concrete context, as we continue to evaluate crime patterns and trends,” Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said.

Kinebrew did point to two signs for optimism so far in March. He said retail thefts are down 22% and non-gun-related aggravated assaults are down 6% in the last month.

The department’s new commissioner, Danielle Outlaw, took charge of the force Feb. 10.

New Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, the first black woman to lead the department, sat with reporters from NBC10 and the Philadelphia Tribune newspaper to talk about her expectations for lowering crime, changing the culture of the police force and the possibility of safe injection site in the city.

She has said in previous interviews that she is not yet ready to comment specifically on crime rates or murder totals. In 2019, the annual homicide total increased for the third year in a row and made it the deadliest year in a decade. The homicide total is up again in 2020 through March 23, according to police data.

A spokeswoman for the city District Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to questions about the crime increases.

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