Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Can Philly Beat Out Chicago As America's Murder Capital?

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Mayor Jim Kenney should make a bet with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Kenney could offer a couple of Philly cheesesteaks, and Lightfoot could counter with a couple of Chicago hot dogs.

The bet: which city will get bragging rights this year for being America's murder capital? 

Chicago at present leads the nation in murders, but the exact count in depends on who's doing the math. Today, the Chicago Tribune reported that as of March 15th, Chicago has 107 murders so far this year, while the rival Chicago Sun-Times put the total body count on that same day at 109.

The national runner-up for most murders committed in America -- the city of Brotherly Love. As of March 15th, according to the official tally kept by the Philadelphia Police Department, Philly has hit 102 murders so far this year. That's despite Chicago having a population that exceeds Philadelphia's by more than a million.

It's a competition that our sad sack of a mayor probably doesn't want to talk about, much less win. So today on Twitter, instead of discussing the record murder rate, Mayor Jim "MaskUp/LockDown" Kenney instead marked the one-year anniversary of Philadelphia's "first restrictions on non-essential activity," which as Kenney defines it, includes restaurants, bars, churches and schools. 

"Philly, we want to pause with you today to reflect and look to the future," Kenney wrote about the 3,200 lives lost to COVID-19. He didn't mention when, if ever, does he plan to give up his emergency powers and end his unconstitutional lockdown that has inflicted untold misery on the citizens. 

Naturally, critics flocked to the mayor's Twitter account.

"How will you be celebrating this milestone," Bill Anthony Rosier asked, above a photo of the Philadelphia Police Department's official body count for murders.

"Amazing job!"

"How many kids will get shot today, Jimbo," added Nick@PhillyRepub90.

More than a few cops noticed that while Kenney took the time to reflect on the people who died of COVID, a few days earlier, he apparently forgot that March 13th was the one-year anniversary of the murder of Corporal James O'Connor.

O'Connor was shot to death while attempting to serve an arrest warrant for murder on a gun-toting, drug-dealing gang member who got multiple passes out of jail from District Attorney Larry Krasner.

That's one thing Philadelphia and Chicago have in common along with their sky-high murder rates -- their top prosecutors, D.A. Krasner and Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, were both "Progressives" elected thanks to a total cash outlay from George Soros of nearly $4 million.

Meanwhile, on Twitter today, D.A. Krasner, the great reformer, was touting his Worker Protection Unit, and inviting workers around the city to report to the D.A.'s office any alleged crimes against employees.

"All workers deserve to have their rights and dignity protected," Krasner tweeted.

"I would like to report the 100 murders that have occurred under your utterly failed watch," responded TheWeekDay," before posting "#Vega2020."

As in Carlos Vega, the career homicide prosecutor who's running against Krasner in the May 18th Democratic primary.

And over at the Philadelphia Police Department, was was the big topic of the day? How to stop the bloodshed? Nope, the Special Projects Unit was announcing a sneaker give-away on March 23rd, from 2 to 6 p.m.

"I look forward to seeing you, family, friends and community members 'strolling in your new kicks,'" wrote Staff Inspector Jacqueline L. Bailey Davis in an email to all police personnel.

Philadelphia, which had 499 murders last year, is up 29% over that rate this year. That puts the city on a record pace for nearly 644 murders in 2021. That's surely something for our Progressive Democratic leaders to celebrate. 

Chicago had 774 murders last year, but this year, but Philadelphia is giving them a run for their money. In January, Chicago had 51 murders while Philadelphia was right behind with 50 murders, an all-time record for January.

In racking up 499 murders last year Philadelphia had the highest homicide total since 1990, the height of the crack epidemic, when 500 people were murdered.

And if it wasn't for the slow pace of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, Philadelphia would have surely tied that all-time record for murders last year.

On Nov. 7, 2020, Philadelphia police found Benjamin Brown, 43, lying on the highway at 3100 Custer Street. Brown, who had facial lacerations and stab wounds, was transported to Abington Hospital, where he died from his wounds on Nov. 26, 2020.

A post-mortem examination by the Montgomery County Coroner's office found the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and a stab wound to the left thigh.

Brown would have been Homicide No. 500 for 2020 but the Montgomery County Coroner didn't issue a final death certificate until Feb. 5th of this year. On Feb. 23rd, the Montgomery County coroner formally notified the Philadelphia Police Department's Homicide Unit about Brown's death.

Kelley Cofrancisco, a spokesperson for Montgomery County, explained that 8 to 12 weeks is standard for reporting "a pending to final cause of death."

"In this case, the coroner issued a pending death certificate so they could gather the information regarding the assault," Cofrandisco said. "More importantly, they [the coroner's office] had to connect the death to the assault by means of autopsy, histological examination (microscope slides) and neuropathology examination (brain and central nervous system)."

At the Philadelphia Police Department's Homicide Unit, Captain Jason Smith said that Brown's death has already been included in this year's homicide total, not last year's.

"It's classified [as a homicide] when it's received," Captain Smith said. According to FBI guidelines for reporting crime, "There is no going back in time," Smith said. "When we get it [a report of a homicide] we assign it, and we investigate it," Smith said about the death of Brown.

That's the way it's always been done in homicide, Smith said. As proof he cited 2020, when a total of 13 out of those 499 homicides reported last year actually occurred in previous years. 

I asked Captain Smith about how Chicago reports homicides. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, their tally of the city's homicide rate is higher because the newspaper includes homicides committed on expressways as well as killings done in self-defense.

 The Chicago Tribune, however, as well as the Chicago Police Department, apparently doesn't count either category in their official homicide totals. And neither does the Philly P.D., Captain Smith said. 

So an apples to apples comparison has Chicago at 107 homicides this year with Philly right behind, at 102.

From here on out, it looks like a real horse race. 


  1. Great piece, again, Ralph. You are a candle in the wind in this town. It's amazing that you keep on going. Hope you do another book. Maybe something similar as Pete Dexter put out a few years ago; 'Paper Trails'. Seriously, you're a great writer on top of your investigative journalism excellence. Hemmingway-ish. Here's hoping. Thanks, Ralph.

  2. When the police commissioner came to Philadelphia from Portland the homicide clearance rate was 52.4% and now it is down to 42.3 %. The national average is 61.4% while Chicago is at 26%. The question that has to be answered by all three of the Trinity is why have we become among the lowest Homicide clearing departments in America. Are those planning a murder believe the chances are 60% you wont be caught. And if you do the DA will assist you in getting bail and if you are really lucky and are an undocumented immigrant then the Mayor will grant you sanctuary. Maybe a little dramatic but the facts remain all three have failed collectively to reduce crime and make the city safe for its residents.

  3. His last year in Council,then Councilperson Jim Kenney made almost $400K in working "side jobs" with companies which did business with the city.
    He raked in money from these side jobs, over his decades in public service, when he should have been addressing systemic racism and reducing poverty. You know...doing his job. But the easy cash was far too much a temptation. He's probably worth millions gleaned from his self less public service.
    Only now, some how, does he care...or pretend to.

  4. Clown show in the White House, in the DA's Office, City Hall and the PAB. What else do you expect?

    1. Clown in the White House? We just got rid of a clown in the White House, he had an orange face and yellow hair.

    2. Clown Nature fills a Clowns Vacuum...Clowns!

  5. Sneaker Give Away? Better make them size 14 or better to attract any 'deserving' recipients.

  6. Much was made by Jim Kenney and his "dismantling systemic racism" in city government.
    Perhaps Kenney can provide an update on his valiant efforts to "dismantle systemic racism". I read nothing about it in the media, despite much fanfare when Kenney announced the mission...and then promptly went into hiding.

    1. Liberal fairy tales like "systemic racism" are exactly that, fairy tales used to frighten a bunch of juvenile-acting adults. Actually trying to resolve it would be like setting traps for the boogeyman at home, it won't do anything.

    2. Systemic racism is just another myth - a fallacious canard - designed to convince the general public that people of color are unfairly treated by the police when they are actively involved in a criminal act. More hogwash!

  7. To say I despise Jim Kenney, would be an under statement. He is the face of the progressive movement in this Country. He hates capitalism. He hates balancing the City's books. We are ten years away from being Detroit, a city full of takers with not enough payers into the system.

  8. You can do it Jimmy


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