VPC highlights the fact that Pennsylvania tops the rankings for black-on-black violence.Â Â We haven’t seen much from VPC in a while, but what they are highlighting is a real problem, but it deserves real solutions, not VPC solutions which dismiss the problem as a gun problem, no doubt attributable to our states “weak ” gun laws.
Don’t expect VPC to tell you the real numbers though, and they indicate something very clearly: violence is not a Pennsylvania problem, it is a Philadelphia problem.Â Statewide, our violent crime rate in 2007 was 416 per 100,000.Â Take Philadelphia out of the equation, and Pennsylvania’s crime rate is 278 per 100,000.Â That puts us on par with Idaho, Hawaii, Iowa, Montana, and much of Western Europe.Â Philadelphia represents 12% of Pennsylvania’s population, but it creates 41% of Pennsylvania’s violent crime.
We’ve documented at great detail the kind of people that the Philadelphia criminal justice system allows to roam the streets terrorizing the city, and African American communities in particular. Until urban communities are willing to face that problem, the bleeding will continue, no matter what gun laws we pass in the rest of the state.Â Bad things happen when you let dangerous and violent people roam the streets.Â Crime reaches every aspect of quality of life, and makes it nearly impossible to have normal family life.Â You can dump all the money into education, opportunity, and jobs you want, but it won’t amount to a hill of beans if the only example of success a lot of inner city adolescents know is from criminal enterprise.
Public order is one of the primary functions of government, and Philadelphia has been failing its citizens for years.Â That must be dealt with before this problem can even begin to be solved.Â That’s hard to do when your mayor thinks cutting the police and fire departments is a good first step.Â Philadelphia residents deserve better, but they aren’t going to get better until they start voting for it, and stop voting for people who will scapegoat guns while failing to address the real problems.Â VPC is only enabling that scapegoating to continue, and are doing a real disservice to the citizens of Philadelphia by doing so.