Crime in Philadelphia

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Crime rates* (2014)
Violent crimes
Homicide 15.9
Forcible rape 77.4**
Robbery 447.2
Aggravated assault 481.1
Total violent crime 1021.4
Property crimes
Burglary 621.8
Larceny-theft 2398.5
Motor vehicle theft 367.4
Arson 25.6
Total property crime 3387.7

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

** Revised definition[1]

Source: FBI 2014 UCR data

Charles Ramsey, the police commissioner, has stated his goal to reduce the number of homicides by 100 per year.[2]

The legal entities responsible for maintaining law and order are:

Notable cases and incidents[edit]

  • The Schuylkill Rangers - (mid-1800s) criminal gang - see Jimmy Haggerty
  • Kidnapping of Charley Ross (1874).
  • Willie Sutton "The Robin Hood of Brooklyn" (1930-50's) - Robbed most Philadelphia Banks, some twice, captured and tunneled out of Eastern State Penitentiary was recaptured and sent to Holmesburg Prison which he subsequently escaped from by ladder.
  • 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.
  • Dolores Della Penna – 1972 abduction and dismemberment of Tacony teenager remains unsolved.
  • Carl Gugasian - "The Friday Night Bank Robber" (1972-2002) - Perhaps the most successful in American history - robbed banks up and down the east coast.
  • Ira Einhorn, "The Unicorn Killer" (1977) - Popular counterculture figure killed his girlfriend and hid her body in his closet.
  • Ed Savitz (1975-1992) - Sexual predator thought to have abused hundreds of teenage boys.
  • Mumia Abu-Jamal (1981) - Convicted for the murder of PPD officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
  • MOVE (1978,1985) - Activist group which clashed with the PPD.
  • Frankford Slasher (1985–1990) - Thought to have killed several women. Never caught, though a prime suspect was known to police.
  • Gary M. Heidnik (1986–1987) - Kidnapped, imprisoned, raped, and tortured six women, two of whom he murdered.
  • Harrison Graham (1986–1987) - Killed seven women.
  • 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) - Police corruption which led to the overturning of 160-300 cases and release of 100 prisoners.
  • Lex Street Massacre (Dec. 28th, 2000)- 7 people were murdered in a crack house.[3]
  • 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.[4][5] 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.[6][7]
  • City Hall corruption scandal (2003-5) - mayor's office bugged by FBI, several convictions resulting.[8]
  • Antonio Rodriguez (late 2010-early 2011). Known as the Kensington Strangler, he murdered three women.
  • Fairmount Park Rapist. (2003–2007) Raped at least three women and murdered medical student Rebecca Park. Not caught.
  • Philadelphia basement kidnapping, October 2011, an ongoing investigation into alleged kidnapping of four mentally disabled adults, who were held in a Northeast Philadelphia basement.


Annual murder and nonnegligent manslaughter

2007[9] 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
392 331 302 306 324 331 247 248 280


Organized crime[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FBI". 
  2. ^ Ramsey’s goal: 100 fewer murders a year
  3. ^
  4. ^ Boyer, Barbara. "Police diver dies retrieving buoy in Delaware River". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2001-11-14. 
  5. ^ 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 2002-01-17. 
  6. ^ "BRAY V. U.S. CIVIL ACTION NO. 03-5150. (E.D. PA. MAR. 14, 2005)". Casetext. Retrieved 2005-03-14. 
  7. ^ "ODMP Remembers Thomas M. Bray". Officer Down Memorial Page. Retrieved 2001-11-13. 
  8. ^ U.S. Bug in Mayor's Office Roils Philadelphia Race
  9. ^ Phialdelphia Police official web site accessed 31 December 2014

External links[edit]