Crime in Philadelphia

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Crime rates (2012)
Crime type Rate*
Homicide: 15.96 (2013)[1]
Forcible rape: 57.2
Robbery: 518.8
Aggravated assault: 562.6
Total Violent crime: 1,160.1
Burglary: 780.0
Larceny-theft: 2,507.7
Motor vehicle theft: 415.9
Arson: not reported
Total Property crime: 3,703.6
* Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: FBI 2012 UCR data

Some aspects of crime in Philadelphia have achieved national and even international attention.[2] Charles Ramsey, the police commissioner, has stated his goal to reduce the number of homicides by 100 per year.[3]

The legal entities responsible for maintaining law and order are:

Notable cases and incidents[edit]

  • Philadelphia Poison Ring (1938) - At least 70 people poisoned with arsenic, several by their wives.
  • Marie Noe (1949–1968) - Murdered eight of her children.
  • Boy in the Box (1957) - Unidentified five year-old boy found dead in a cardboard box.
  • Ira Einhorn, "The Unicorn Killer" (1977) - Popular figure killed his girlfriend and hid her body in his closet.
  • Mumia Abu-Jamal (1981) - Convicted for the murder of PPD officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
  • MOVE (1978,1985) - Clashed with the PPD.
  • Frankford Slasher (1985–1990) - Thought to have killed several women.
  • Gary M. Heidnik (1986–1987) - Kidnapped, imprisoned, raped, and tortured six women, two of whom he murdered.
  • Harrison Graham (1986–1987) - Killed seven women, deemed incompetent to be executed.
  • Raymond Carter (convict) (1988) - Convicted of killing Robert "Puppet" Harris; verdict overturned in 1996 due to likelihood of false testimony.
  • 39th District corruption scandal (1990s) - Led to overturn of 160-300 cases and release of 100 persons.
  • Lex Street Massacre (Dec. 28th, 2000)- 7 people were murdered in a crack house. [4]
  • Kidnapping and murder of Iriana DeJesus (2000) - Alexis Flores, suspect of the case, was added to FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 2007.
  • Officer Thomas Bray's possible murder (November 13, 2001) - Bray died in a suspicious on-duty scuba diving incident the day after he testified against Sergeant Shawn Dougherty at a disciplinary hearing.[5][6]Bray's estate and mother, Genevieve, sued the city and federal government in federal court over Bray's death, settling for an amount that could not be determined from a summary Internet search.[7][8]
  • City Hall corruption scandal (2003-5) - mayor's office bugged by FBI, several convictions resulting.[9]
  • Kensington Strangler (late 2010-early 2011).
  • Fairmount Park Rapist. (2003–2007) Not caught.
  • Philadelphia basement kidnapping event, October 2011, an ongoing investigation into alleged kidnapping of four mentally disabled adults, who were held in a Northeast Philadelphia basement.


Organized crime[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Philadelphia Still Suffering Higher Homicide Rate Than Largest Us Cities, But Also Showing Greater Progress". 
  2. ^ Philadelphia sees murder rate of 1 per day
  3. ^ Ramsey’s goal: 100 fewer murders a year
  4. ^
  5. ^ Boyer, Barbara. "Police diver dies retrieving buoy in Delaware River". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 11/14/01.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ Soteropoulos, Jacqueline. "Sergeant charged in theft at Pier 34 Shawn Dougherty is accused of taking empty beer kegs from the collapse site and selling them to a distributor for $80.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 1/17/02.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ "BRAY V. U.S. CIVIL ACTION NO. 03-5150. (E.D. PA. MAR. 14, 2005)". Casetext. Retrieved 3/14/05.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "ODMP Remembers Thomas M. Bray". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 11/13/01.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ U.S. Bug in Mayor's Office Roils Philadelphia Race