We rate this statement as False.

“Here in Philadelphia murder has been steady — I mean — just terribly increasing.”

Donald Trump
In a speech
Jan 26 2017

PolitiFact Pennsylvania

Donald Trump falsely tells GOP Philly homicides are ‘terribly increasing’

Philadelphia’s numbers were down from 2016 to 2015, actually.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a campaign rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a campaign rally at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA.

Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News via USA TODAY NETWORK
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Full Statement

“Here in Philadelphia murder has been steady — I mean — just terribly increasing.”

Our Analysis

Donald Trump made his first visit to Philadelphia as president today and at the beginning of his speech at the GOP Retreat said it was “great” to be in the city. Then things went south.

Trump said, “Here in Philadelphia, murder has been steady — I mean — just terribly increasing.”

So what’s really happening with homicides in Philadelphia?

In 2016, according to year-end data from the police department, 277 people were killed in the city. That number is down from 2015, when 280 people were killed; and up from 2014, when 248 people were killed.  

Homicides since the mid 2000s, however, are way down. In 2007, Philly had 391 murders. Go back to the 1990s, and Philadelphia’s murder rate was even higher. Five hundred people were killed in 1990. The murder rate decreased throughout the 1990s before going back up in the early 2000s and falling since then.

The 277 people killed in 2016 is the third-lowest amount since 1990 and down about 45 percent from the 1990 peak.

We reached out to White House spokesperson Steven N. Cheung for comment. We’ll update if we hear back.

John McNesby, leader of the Philadelphia police union, Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police, had harsh words for Trump.

“That must have been one of his alternative facts,” he said.

Lodge 5 of the FOP went along with the national FOP and endorsed Trump before the election.

Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement Thursday afternoon saying the president’s comments were “insulting” to police.

“Our police officers have worked tirelessly and with great personal sacrifice to get Philadelphia’s crime rate down to its lowest point in forty years, while also successfully implementing reforms to strengthen police-community relations and uphold the rights of all our residents,” he said in the statement.

He continued: “Our homicides are, in fact, slowly declining, and while we are not satisfied with even our current numbers, we are handicapped by Republican refusal to enact any kind of common sense gun control and by their obsession with turning our police officers into ICE agents — which will prevent immigrants from coming forward to report crimes or provide critical witnesses statements that can put dangerous criminals behind bars.”

Our Ruling

President Donald Trump, while addressing the GOP Retreat at the Loews Hotel, said, “Here in Philadelphia murder has been steady — I mean — just terribly increasing.”

The murder rate was higher last year than it was in 2014 and 2013, but it was lower than in 2015 and the third-lowest it has been since 1990. The murder rate in 2016 was about 45 percent lower than in 1990, when 500 people were killed.

We rule the claim False.    

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