Twenty-four percent of shooting victims last year had pending criminal court cases against them at the time they were shot, according to a report by researchers with the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department. In 2002, 18 percent of shooting victims had “open bills” against them. Thirty percent of gun-homicide victims last year had pending criminal cases at the time they were killed, up from 20 percent in 2003, according to the report.But the report reinforces other studies nationally that show that the demographic of people firing guns and those getting shot often overlap. And the data shows that in a city of nearly 1.5 million people now undergoing an unsettling increase in homicides – 406 people were killed last year; there have been 221 killed this year as of yesterday – that violence is largely confined to the city’s impoverished quarters.
“It’s not happening everywhere, and it’s not happening to everybody,” said Ellen Kurtz, director of research for the probation department. While not wanting to minimize the killings, Kurtz said: “Many of these people were not choirboys on their way to church when they got shot.”
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