Murders, shootings up, but violent crime down?

First, the good news: as of Tuesday, police statistics show, overall violent crime in the city has fallen five percent from a year ago.

Now, the bad news: those same statistics show that two crucial areas of violent crime -- murders and shootings -- are up four percent and seven percent, respectively.

So it should come as no surprise, then, that I just finished writing a story that recounted seven shootings, one of which was fatal, that unfolded over the course of just nine hours today. That story will undoubtedly appear on philly.com in a matter of minutes, so let's use this space to ponder one simple question: What the hell?

And while we're at it, here's another question: if these trends hold up, how will Mayor Nutter and Commissioner Ramsey ultimately describe 2010, a year that could see a drop in violent crime and a spike in homicides and shootings? A success? A failure? Something in between?

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