By Steven Hoffman
Mark Twain once wrote that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
We don’t want to disagree with one of America’s greatest writers. There are certainly times in this “information age” when statistics are used to distort the truth. But, sometimes, statistics do tell a story—and it’s a truthful story.
Consider this statistic: Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced on July 1 that the county has had exactly 0 homicides during the first six months of 2019.
That is a meaningful statistic, even though law enforcement officials emphasized in the press release that there is no way that there will continue to be no homicides in this beautiful county.
Hogan attributed the six months without a homicide to “good policing, good medical care, and good luck.”
Indeed, a six-month span without a homicide wouldn’t be possible without good policing. Communities are investing heavily in their police departments, and the results are showing. The police departments themselves are working collaboratively with each other, and this helps, too. It takes a lot of hard work by hundreds of state and municipal police officers to keep communities safe.
In 2018, there were 13 homicides in Chester County. There was an 84 percent clearance rate for those homicides, meaning that the cases were either solved by arrests or the death of the defendant.
Hogan cited a number of anti-crime initiatives that help prevent drug-related violence as reasons why the county maintains a clearance rate that is nearly double the clearance rate for homicides in Philadelphia.
The county also utilizes a predictive tool known as Lethality Assessment Protocol that allows the authorities to anticipate extreme cases of domestic violence. By identifying these extreme cases, officials are able to protect the victim before a homicide occurs.
Another major factor in having zero homicides, Hogan said, is the fine medical care that is offered in Chester County. Superb medical care turns potential homicide cases into attempted homicide cases.
We’d like to extend our gratitude to all the law enforcement agencies for the hard work in keeping the community safe, as well as to all the medical personal who play a role in responding to life-and-death situations, whether it’s at the scene of an incident or in a hospital. Quite a few citizens play a critical role in keeping the community safe, too, by being vigilant and caring.
Having no homicides in the first half of 2019 doesn’t suggest that the next six months will offer the same, but it does illustrate that a lot of things are being done right in Chester County.