Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement refuting President Trump’s claim on Thursday that murder rates in the city were “terribly increasing.”
“Right now, too many families don’t feel secure,” said Trump, addressing Republican legislators at a GOP retreat in Philadelphia. “Just look at the 30 largest cities. In the last year alone, the murder rate has increased by an estimated 14 percent. Here in Philadelphia, the murder rate has been steady, I mean just, terribly increasing.”
The assertion was rebutted by several outlets, but Kenney’s statement served as the official response from the city.
“President Trump’s false statements today were an insult to the men and women of the Philadelphia police force — the very same men and women who are working long hours today to ensure his safety,” the mayor said on Thursday afternoon. “Our police officers have worked tirelessly and with great personal sacrifice to get Philadelphia’s crime rate down to its lowest point in forty years, while also successfully implementing reforms to strengthen police-community relations and uphold the rights of all our residents.”
“Our homicides are, in fact, slowly declining, and while we are not satisfied with even our current numbers, we are handicapped by Republican refusal to enact any kind of common sense gun control and by their obsession with turning our police officers into ICE agents – which will prevent immigrants from coming forward to report crimes or provide critical witnesses statements that can put dangerous criminals behind bars.”
Overall, Philadelphia saw an uptick in overall homicides in recent years from lows in 2013 and 2014, but last year saw three fewer murders than 2015, according to local police. When the number of homicides is looked at per capita — as in this chart from the Philadelphia Inquirer — the rates drop even lower.
This is not the first time Trump has mentioned violent crime since taking the oath of office. He said he would consider sending “the feds” to Chicago if the murder rate there was not reduced. When discussing the shootings there on Thursday, Trump asked, “What the hell is going on in Chicago?” A man in the room replied, “Democrats,” eliciting laughter.
“A lot of truth to that,” Trump said.
Watch President Trump’s full remarks in Philadelphia:
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