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September 01, 2015

NYT: Murder rates rising in major U.S. cities, including Philadelphia

Experts debate possible causes, solutions

The New York Times published a report on Monday showing cities across the nation, including Philadelphia, have experienced an increase in murder rates over the past year.

According to The Times, the uptick comes after years of decline following a peak in urban bloodshed in the late '80s and early '90s.

The Times interviewed officials from the cities and experts, who weighed in on possible causes and offered solutions.

Some said intense national scrutiny of the use of force by the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals, while others suggest a growing willingness to use violence to settle ordinary disputes may be behind the uptick.

Garry McCarthy, police superintendent in Chicago, where the murder rate has jumped 20 percent from 2014 to 2015, told The Times he thought an abundance of guns was a major factor in his city’s homicide spike and suggested that gun offenders should face stiffer penalties.

In Milwaukee, the city with the highest increase (76 percent) over the past year, most of the victims and the suspects were black men under 30 from neighborhoods where foreclosures, joblessness and poverty are also high, police data obtained by The Times shows.

Most involve guns and people — both victims and suspects — who have been arrested before. The most common motive in the slayings was not robbery or gang rivalry but an argument, according to the data.

Read the full New York Times article here.