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September saw Philadelphia’s 400th murder, marking the city’s earliest historical point. Philadelphia Weekly reports that sources from the Philadelphia Police Department claim that there are as many as 142 more. “special assignment investigations,”Police have made this information public “S-jobs.”72 of them are “Sudden or Suspicious Deaths,” which senior police sources allege may be serving as a tool used by Commissioner Danielle Outlaw’s administration to lower the already shocking homicide rate.“I have seen ‘S’ numbers used as a way to defer and limit the number of murders,” said Derrick ‘Jake’ Jacobs, a retired Philadelphia homicide detective and DA’s Office whistleblower. “Usually the ‘S’ number can be properly classified after the ME [Medical Examiner] findings. For example: you find a decomp in the park, the ME conducts an examination and determines it was an OD, not a murder – this stays an ‘S-job.’ On the other hand, if he finds strangulation – this is a homicide, and the classification should be changed.”2020 saw 499 murders, one less than 1990’s record of 500. In that year, 173 were killed. “S-jobs”Only 31 more were recorded than in 2021. There are still three months in the year. Current ‘S-Job’Police Public Affairs confirmed that there are 17 pending cases. Three were deemed involuntary, three were self-defense and 41 were upgraded to murder. These figures are included in the current reported statistics on homicide.“Most of the time this is not done to ‘hide’ the actual murder tally.” Jacobs continued. “Although [in my 25 years on the Philadelphia Police] I cannot recall this level of S-numbers. Conservatively, say that 10-25 percent are definitely murders, but it does not take a year to determine that fact. So, for the sake of argument if you have 173 S-jobs, conservatively that is an additional 17 to 44 additional murders.”The Weekly was informed by a top source in the police department. “We went way over 500 homicides last year. They buried some as ‘S-jobs,’ then they counted some who died in 2021, but who were shot in 2020, in this year’s numbers.”When asked where statistics could be found on which subjects, the press replied that they don’t know. ‘S-jobs’The senior police official replied that they were later classified under natural deaths, overdoses, and murders. “No, they don’t publish ‘S-jobs.’ I don’t remember the exact number of ‘S”jobs’ this time last year, compared to this year, but my inclination is we have more this year. They are burying a lot of shit.”This is not the first time that police officials questioned the validity of crime statistics coming from headquarters. Capt. Capt. Jason Smith, the then-commanding officer for Homicide, cited examples where “S-cases”They were added to homicide counts, but other police officers said that. “S-Jobs” were just a way to keep the murder count down.The 2020 statistics were called into question after a change in the official tally amid a bloody, three-murder New Year’s Eve. On Dec. 31, the city had reported 498 murders – a statistic that remained the same throughout New Year’s Eve, despite news coverage of the murder of a 15-year-old that afternoon. After the tally was briefly recomputed on Jan. 4, 2020’s total homicides was 502. After two hours of social media reporting on the statistic, the total was reduced to 499. When questioned by reporter Ralph Cipriano, police spokesmen said the change from 502 to 499 murders was a statistical error made by a web designer.Mayor Jim Kenney’s recent response to the news that the city passed 404 murders in the third week of September was to tweet: “I am heartbroken and outraged that we’ve lost more than 400 Philadelphians to preventable violence this year.” Kenney continued, “My heart goes out to all families suffering from enormous grief. Our administration continues to act with urgency to reduce violence and save lives.”Despite the empathy shown in social media statements by KenneyAnd Outlaw, sources within the department confirm that there have been no changes in deployments for elite units like the Narcotics Strike Force and the Highway Patrol, the department’s response to crime surges of past years.Meanwhile, instead of using our current robust resources to address this issue using proven methods, the local political establishment is seemingly creating a cottage industry in response to the city’s tragic lives lost.District Attorney Larry Krasner characterized the uncontrolled rise in violent crime as “senseless” and “preventable,”While calling for greater investment in schools, social programs, instead of relying on proven law enforcement strategies and increased accountability within criminal justice system, he also called for greater investment in schools. This was echoed throughout the city’s leadership as City Council approved a 2022 budget that invests over $155 million in “violence prevention”Programs other than law enforcement The budget includes $22,000,000 in grants to nongovernmental organizations that are focused on “reducing violence through trauma-informed healing, restorative practices, safe havens and mentorship.”This experiment was extended to state government where Gov. Wolf joined state officials in West Philadelphia on Sept. 23 to encourage “community-based violence prevention groups to apply for millions of dollars in state grants.”They spoke as four people were shot in a nearby drive-by, proving how widespread the issue is.“I know most Philadelphians are rightfully outraged and frustrated by our city’s rise in violence,”Kenney spoke on Twitter. “Please know, our administration takes this crisis very seriously. We are committed to working with all of our criminal justice & community partners to create a safer city for us all.”But despite the promises of new programs and funds, there have been no concrete plans deployed to address the failures in Philadelphia’s law enforcement and prosecution strategies. Although Outlaw’s claims that the “department continues to make a record number of crime gun confiscations, and a record number of arrests of the individuals in possession of them,” there is a noted absence of urgency in the tactical deployment of the city’s law enforcement resources.Regardless of how they are reported, there are far too many murders being committed in a city with the nation’s fourth-largest police department. Philadelphians are paying leaders to address this issue, but they don’t provide proven solutions to protect their constituents. This must be rectified by voters who hold their leaders responsible and elect leaders who will put politics aside to protect [email protected] Eric McLaurin, PPD Public AffairsIf you read this story and liked it, consider joining altPhilly, our membership program that offers exclusive content, instant access to the editor and awesome perks for like-minded Philadelphians. PW’s coverage goes against the grain and the norms of local mainstream media. Join altPhilly now
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