Philadelphia homicides second-highest in the country in 2020, police say

A police officer monitors activity near a residence while responding to a shooting on August 14, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia ranks second in the nation in the number of homicides so far this year, just behind Chicago, according to statistics presented by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

As of July 26, homicides in the city had jumped 32% to 247, compared to the same period a year earlier, Outlaw told city council members at a hearing on gun violence on Tuesday.

While crime overall dipped in many cities in the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, violent crime and homicides are rising sharply around the country. Philadelphia's 32% increase in homicide was smaller than in 10 other cities -- Minneapolis' surged 85% and Fort Wayne, Indiana, saw a 58% increase, according to the data Outlaw presented.

Chicago, which has seen a series of shootings recently, ranks number one in homicides nationwide, with 433 homicides, a 52% increase from a year earlier, according to the data.

New York ranked a close third, with a 29% increase to 227 homicides.

Shootings are up 36% in Philadelphia this year, according to the police data.

Tuesday's meeting was scheduled before the increased gun violence in the city this past weekend, when six people were shot in one incident.

In Philadelphia, three children per week, on average, have been shot this year, according to data from the city's police department from last week.

Police data shows nine of the shootings were fatal.

In the meeting, Outlaw said top issues driving gun violence include: existing rivalries between gangs and groups; competition for territory to sell drugs; "Beefs" between individuals; and a rise in the likelihood for individuals to carry firearms.

CNN's Evan Simko-Bednarski and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.

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