The North Philly Standoff
Last week, six Philadelphia police officers were injured while serving a narcotics warrant.
The incident later evolved into a seven-hour-long shootout that occurred in a neighborhood near Temple University. According to USA Today, Police Commissioner Richard Ross described the outcome as “nothing short of a miracle” as there were thankfully no fatalities. A tear gas barrage ultimately caused the shooter to surrender.
Thirty-six-year-old Maurice Hill was identified as the gunman who the Philadelphia Inquirer said had “an extensive record of gun convictions and resisting arrests.”
Officers had to navigate the narrow, tightly packed streets while Temple University’s campuses were put on lock-down. Commissioner Ross held phone negotiations to deescalate Hill. Two officers were trapped in the building protecting three prisoners—one of whom was stranded in a bathroom—and ultimately saved by SWAT (USA Today).
President Trump took to Twitter the following day:
“The Philadelphia shooter should haven never been allowed to be on the streets. He had a long and very dangerous criminal record. Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence—must get much tougher on street crime!”
Such an event raises the question of how a convicted felon had the opportunity to commit the crime. Is there a bigger conversation that needs to be had? Research indicates that overall, violent crime in the U.S. has significantly decreased in recent years, falling 49% percent between 1993 and 2017. According to the Pew Research Center, there are large variances in crime rates depending on geographic location. Moreover, public perceptions of the crime rate tend to differ vastly from actual statistics.
Where, then, do we place the blame when these mass acts of violence happen? President Trump’s focus on street crime might be misplaced.
Nonetheless, a huge thank you goes out to the first responders who played vital roles in keeping everyone involved safe. We appreciate you.