Homicides appear to be up, expert says data deserves a closer look

Antionette Lee
February 10, 2019 - 10:35 am
Philadelphia police vehicle.

Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — At first glance, it may seem that the Philadelphia homicide rate is up for the year. But, according to a Temple University professor, the data can be misleading. 

According to data from the City of Philadelphia, 85 people were shot in January, with 20 being homicides.  

In January 2018, the number was around the same. 

"Usually around the end of January, end of February, it seems that the city is always on track to have 20 or 30 percent more homicides than the year before, but then it tends to level out," said Caterina Roman, a criminologist and associate professor at Temple University who researches neighborhood violence. 

READ: Philly breaks decade-old record murder rate 

Her inference lines up with the Philadelphia Police Department's report of a 31 percent increase in homicides compared to this time last year. 
 
However, she says it's too early to tell if there's a trend, which is why it's important to continue to follow the data closely. 

"If we knew more about the particular nature about these homicides, like all of a sudden youth are shooting each other in record numbers when we never saw large swatches of youth being victimized in January, then there might be something," she added.