DAILY BEAST: Thirty-two murders that have taken place in Philadelphia since the start of 2012. This recent rash of homicides comes quickly on the heels of a year when Mayor Michael Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey were touting a steep reduction in violent crime, with homicides down 22 percent, robberies down 23 percent, and overall violent crime down 16 percent in 2011 from their 2007 highs.  The Mayor blames the homicide spike on a steady flow of illegal handguns into the city as groups like the NRA stymie his attempts to pass local gun-control laws. Richard Berk, a statistician who studies crime at the University of Pennsylvania, says the uptick could also be within the bounds of the “natural variation” of crime rates. Others have hypothesized that the unusually warm winter brought the annual springtime murder-rate jump a few months early. Whatever the cause, the mayor wants to snuff out the brushfire, and has released a new anti-crime plan that promises to put 100 more cops on the streets over time, targeting neighborhood hot spots where guns and drugs are most concentrated. The district attorney’s office promises to seek maximum penalties against defendants accused of carrying illegal guns. And the mayor is increasing to $20,000 rewards for tips that lead to the convictions of murder suspects, and will allow residents to anonymously text those tips in.“I just put a bounty on your head,” the mayor said at a press conference at a North Philadelphia High School, speaking to city’s perpetrators of violence. “We are coming for you.” MORE

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