Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gritty City: Murder Map

Fortunately for moi, Old City where I live is in the eastern end of the little valley between 'Point Breeze' and 'Strawberry Mansion' which are both summits of killing in this captivating visual rendering of murder by numbers in Philadelphia. True to its flat topography in this map, I haven't heard of a killing in Old City in the year and a half that I've lived here.

So it was hard to fathom that Philly's been nearly as deadly to Americans over the last decade as 7 years of open warfare in Iraq, but when there were 7 murders last weekend alone, it felt a bit more real. Nearly all of these were gangland-style, multiple-bullets-to-the-head brutality. Yikes!

This got me thinking about whether it's more dangerous in Philly compared to other prominent American cities. The data is readily available and in terms of per capita rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, Philadelphia is tied for 9th place with esteemed peers Cleveland and Memphis with .2 instances per 1,000 residents, or about 300 per year. This is below the rates of familiarly violent cities New Orleans (#1 with .50 murder-death-kills per 1,000 residents), Detroit (.46) and Washington, D.C.(.24), but well above Boston (.08), San Francisco (.06) and New York (.06).

For reference, my hometown of Boise, Idaho doesn't even rank in the available data set. Which might not surprise anyone.

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