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July 26, 2018

Over 40 percent of homicides with black or Hispanic victims in Philadelphia went unsolved from 2007 to 2016

Homicides with black or Hispanic victims in the city are nearly twice as likely to go unsolved as ones with white victims

Murder Data
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The Washington Post published a series of stories based on data surrounding a decade of unsolved homicide data and found, of 26,000 murders without an arrest in major American cities, almost three-quarters involved black victims.

Among the data, the Post’s reporters found that “four cities — Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia — accounted for more than 7,300 of the black murders with no arrests.”

The report also noted that, from 2007 to 2016, 45 percent of the homicides in Philadelphia did not result in an arrest.

The Post made the full database available for download via Github; if you want to download it, here is a link.

After combing through the data for Philadelphia, here’s the breakdown of the 3,037 homicides reported to the Post by the city from 2007 to 2016:

• 2,359 of the victims were black, with 1,022 of those cases, or 43.2 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 373 of the victims were Hispanic, with 162 of those cases, or 43.1 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 256 of the victims were white, with 58 of those cases, or 22.2 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 48 of the victims were Asian, with 15 of those cases, or 31.3 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 1 listed the victim’s race as “other.” That case is listed as “open/no arrest”

So of the four cities highlighted by the Post, Philadelphia accounts for less than 14 percent of the 7,300-plus murders with no arrests. The city's data (43.2 percent vs. 75 percent) doesn’t align with the staggering three-quarters number the Post referenced with respect to unsolved black homicides vs. unsolved other homicides.

Still, homicides with black or Hispanic victims in Philadelphia are almost twice as likely to go unsolved as homicides with white victims.

“For every homicide, our goal is to identify and apprehend the offenders, while preserving the constitutional rights of all affected persons," Philadelphia Police Department spokesman Capt. Sekou Kinebrew told the Post. "In doing so, we aim to obtain justice for the victims and promote safety for the communities we serve.”

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