What To Know Today

Philadelphia has had 8,500 shootings since 2015. Police made arrests in 21 percent of cases. The stark figures come from a Philadelphia Inquirer investigation into the city’s dismal clearance rates as residents now confront the highest annual homicide count in more than a decade. The Philly PD’s startling failure to solve shootings was coupled with an even lower conviction rate — just 9 percent. “In that environment, the issue becomes self-fulfilling,” one of the reporters wrote on Twitter. “Gunmen feel emboldened. Witnesses don’t feel safe speaking up. Police caseloads grow.” As The Trace has reported, police departments in cities across the country are increasingly failing to close the shootings of Black and Hispanic victims, helping fuel community mistrust in law enforcement and sustaining cycles of violence. “At least know their names:” Inquirer columnist Helen Ubiñas memorialized the more than 400 Philadelphians who have lost their lives to gun violence this year.

Minneapolis council, which pledged to disband Police Department, passes budget that leaves police staffing unchanged. The unanimous City Council vote does divert $8 million in police funds toward alternative crime prevention programs. But in the face of a threatened mayoral veto, the plan keeps the Minneapolis PD’s staffing level at 888 officers — a big reversal for a council that during the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing this summer voted to abolish the Police Department and replace it with an entirely new public safety agency. Shootings in Minneapolis are at their highest level in more than a decade, which has led some residents to oppose plans to shrink the city’s law enforcement ranks. 

Armed protests against COVID restrictions force abrupt end to public health meeting. As officials in Boise, Idaho were meeting to vote a local mask mandate and limits on public gatherings, demonstrators, some carrying firearms, massed in front of one official’s home, calling her a “tyrant.” Her children were in the house at the time. “The scrutiny, intimidation, harassment, and threats have taken a toll on us all, myself included,” the official wrote. Police arrested at least one person for trespassing.

Republican lawmakers are advancing a “stand your ground” bill in Ohio. In a party-line vote, a state Senate committee fast-tracked the measure for consideration by the full chamber next week. The Cincinnati Enquirer notes that state’s GOP legislators have had greater appetite for bills expanding gun rights — proposals to ban closing gun stores during public health emergencies and allow teachers to go armed in schools have both already cleared the Senate — than they have for the moderate package of reforms assembled by Republican Governor Mike DeWine following the mass shooting in Dayton last summer. 

A police leader’s plea for delegating mental crisis calls. In a New York Times symposium asking experts for a single idea that would significantly improve the country, Tucson, Arizona’s chief cop Chris Magnus called for embedding mental health specialists at 911 response centers. Doing so will let “police officers and mental health personnel work together to provide persons in crisis with the best possible care.” Tucson is one of the growing number of cities experimenting with dispatching unarmed first responders to certain emergency calls in an effort to reduce police shootings.

Data Point

63 percent — the spike in shootings at New York City bodegas so far this year, according to NYPD data. The iconic city businesses, often run by immigrants, have been important community resources during the pandemic. [The New York Times]