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The number of violent crimes fell last year in Philadelphia, as did assaults on police officers.
But the number of people shot by police is up.
The number of shootings by police in 2012 resulting in death or injury climbed to the highest level it’s been in 10 years. Philadelphia police shot 52 suspects last year while responding to calls for reported crimes. Of those shot, 15 people died.
And the city’s own police watchdog says the department hasn’t provided a reason for the increase. The Police Advisory Commission has been repeatedly blocked in its efforts to review shootings and, according to the executive director of the Police Advisory Commission, Internal Affairs has refused to supply requested information about any of the shootings.
Police Internal Affairs investigators and the district attorney’s office have not raised any known concerns about the shootings. But the number dwarfs that of the previous year. In 2011, 35 were shot. In 2012, the shootings increased almost 50 percent.
Critics say the data, collected and analyzed by Philly.com, raise questions about the use of deadly force in Philadelphia.
“It certainly raises a red flag,” said David Rudovsky, the civil rights attorney and University of Pennsylvania law professor. “The numbers almost speak for themselves.”
“If it is higher, we need to know why,” said Kelvyn Anderson, of the Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission.
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Philadelphia in recent years has had one of the highest rates of shootings by police in the nation. When measured against violent crime, Philadelphia, more often than not, tops other major cities for which data were available: Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York City.
In an interview last month, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said he saw no need to reevaluate the use of deadly force.
Read more of the article by Sam Wood here.