Media Narratives Challenged as Philadelphia Crime Stats Drop

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When comparing a recently released Gallup poll to crime statistics in Philadelphia, it is clear that the city may be safer than it is perceived to be.

When comparing a recently released Gallup poll to crime statistics in Philadelphia, it is clear that the city may be safer than it is perceived to be, writes Heather J. Chin for Billy Penn at WHYY.

The poll on perceived notions of safety for 16 U.S. cities found that just 47 percent of people who have visited Philadelphia or simply just heard of it perceive the city as safe.

Meanwhile, 50 percent stated that they have negative perceptions.

However, this perception does not seem to match up to reality.

Year-to-date homicides and shootings in Philadelphia have fallen by 20 percent since last year. Violent crime has also decreased, including aggravated assaults with a gun which went down by ten percent. Robberies have decreased by 12 percent.

While these gains do not erase the traumatic impact gun violence has on Philadelphians, it becomes clear that media narratives play a huge role in perpetuating harmful stereotypes instead of focusing on examining solutions.

“If you constantly consume episodic coverage on firearm injury, [for example] you’re always going to be thinking of it as a crime problem,” said Temple trauma surgeon and director of research at the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Jessica Beard. “You won’t know what the solutions are.”

Read more about the issue in Billy Penn at WHYY.

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