Skip to content

Homicides for people of color City of Brotherly Love largely unsolved


More than 40 percent of homicides with Black or Hispanic victims in Philadelphia went unsolved from 2007 until 2016, reports The Washington Post published a series of stories based on data surrounding a decade of unsolved homicide data and found, of 26,000 murders without an arrest in major American cities, almost three-quarters involved Black victims. Among the data, the Post’s reporters found that “four cities — Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit and Philadelphia — accounted for more than 7,300 of the Black murders with no arrests.” The report also noted that, from 2007 to 2016, 45 percent of the homicides in Philadelphia did not result in an arrest. After combing through the data for Philadelphia, the breakdown of the 3,037 homicides reported to the Post by the city from 2007 to 2016 looks like this:

• 2,359 of the victims were Black, with 1,022 of those cases, or 43.2 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 373 of the victims were Hispanic, with 162 of those cases, or 43.1 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 256 of the victims were white, with 58 of those cases, or 22.2 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 48 of the victims were Asian, with 15 of those cases, or 31.3 percent, listed as “open/no arrest”

• 1 listed the victim’s race as “other.” That case is listed as “open/no arrest.”

So of the four cities highlighted, Philadelphia accounts for less than 14 percent of the 7,300-plus murders with no arrests. The city’s data (43.2 percent vs. 75 percent) doesn’t align with the staggering three-quarters number referenced with respect to unsolved Black homicides vs. unsolved other homicides. Still, homicides with Black or Hispanic victims in Philadelphia are almost twice as likely to go unsolved as homicides with white victims. “For every homicide, our goal is to identify and apprehend the offenders, while preserving the constitutional rights of all affected persons,” Philadelphia Police Department spokesman Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said. “In doing so, we aim to obtain justice for the victims and promote safety for the communities we serve.”