Definitions
 
A
Aggravated Assault
An attack by one person on another with the purpose of inflicting severe or grievous injury. Generally a weapon is involved, although it is possible to have an aggravated assault that does not include a weapon. Attempted murder (e.g. a shooting that does not result in death) is classified as Aggravated Assault by the police.
Aggravated Assault/Gun
Aggravated assault where a gun is used. The gun does not have to be fired for the offense to be classified as an aggravated assault/gun.
Aggravated Assault/Other
Any aggravated assault that does not involve a gun.
All Offenses
All Offenses is a summary category for offenses of any crime category.
Arrest
An arrest is an action by the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) in which a person is apprehended and taken into custody on the suspicion of the commission of a crime.
Auto Theft
The theft of an automobile. This does not include armed theft of a vehicle, which would be classified as Robbery.
▲ Return to the Top
B
Bail

A set of pre-trial conditions placed upon the accused to allow them to be released from custody while awaiting trial. The purpose of the conditions are to ensure public safety.

In Philadelphia, people often receive monetary bail conditions (e.g., $10,000), meaning they must pay the Commonwealth some set amount of money to be released from custody while awaiting trial. When the accused successfully completes their trial without missing any appearances or otherwise violating their bail conditions, their money is returned. If they fail to meet their bail conditions, they may lose their bail money. When a person is given cash bail, they can often pay 10% of the full amount (also called “bond”), but will owe the full amount if they violate their bail conditions.
Burglary
The unlawful entering of a building with the intention of committing a crime.
Burglary/Commercial
Burglary of a commercial building.
Burglary/Residential
Burglary of a residential building.
▲ Return to the Top
C
Case Length
Refers to the total number of days between the date of arrest and the date of resolution whether through withdrawal, dismissal, diversion, plea or verdict. It does not include the time to sentence or to the pending resolution of any post-trial proceedings such as direct appeals or collateral attacks on a sentence. If a person wins an appeal or collateral attack and a new resolution is entered on the case, the time to that new disposition is measured in lieu of the time between their arrest and intial resolution.
Charges

A charge is an accusation by the Commonwealth that a person has committed a crime. Although a case often involves more than one charge, our Charge Report only looks at the most serious offense charged in each criminal case.

In Philadelphia, the DAO, not the police, is responsible for deciding whether to charge an individual. Generally speaking, police investigate a case and present their investigation to the DAO. The DAO then determines whether there is enough evidence to file criminal charges and what charges should be filed. It is common that a person is charged with multiple offenses in a single criminal case. For example, Simple Assault is often charged at the same time as Recklessly Endangering Another Person.
▲ Return to the Top
D
DAO
Dismissed/Withdrawn/Etc

The catchall category in our data for cases that are ‘dropped’ at some point in the process. Some common reasons a case can be dropped include:

  • Withdrawal/Nolle Prosequi: a voluntary decision by the DAO to end prosecution in an individual case.
  • Dismissal: a decision by the judge to end prosecution in an individal case.
Disposition
Refers to how a case was completed or resolved. This may include a finding of guilt, a guilty plea, diversion, a finding of not guilty, or that the case was dismissed or withdrawn.
Diversion

Diversion is a procedure by which the DAO removes cases from the usual path through the criminal justice process of incarceration and probation. Diversion allows the accused to participate in a program that is often court supervised and, if completed successfully, will serve the needs of the criminal justice system. The programs are designed to be rehabilitative rather than punitive and the goal is to redirect individuals who have committed minor crime into a lifestyle that will keep them away from criminal involvement. Some of the benefits of diversionary programs are:

  • People are able to stay in the community while being held accountable.
  • Their specialized nature allows for targeting of specific programs for specific types of people (e.g., drug treatment for people with drug disuse disorders).
  • Many allow for the charges to be cleared from the accused’s record after successful program completion. This helps people move on from their contact with the criminal justice system without the lifetime burden a criminal record can pose in finding housing, employment, and other important life activities.
  • They allow the accused to quickly move out of the criminal justice system, bringing swift resolution of the case and reducing loads on overburdened agencies and system actors.

  • Some common diversion programs in Philadelphia include:

    • AMP I and AMP II (Accelerated Misdemeanor Program)
    • Domestic Violence Diversion
    • Veteran’s Court
    • ARD (Accelerated Misdemeanor Program)
    • Mental Health Court
    Drug Offenses
    Drug Offenses is a summary category for offenses categorized as drug crimes.
    Drug Possession
    Possession of a drug for personal use and not for the purpose of selling the drug to someone else.
    Drug Sales
    Possession of a drug with the intention of selling the drug or the actual sale of the drug. “Intention to sell” can be inferred from the amount possessed when a person possesses more than a user would have for personal use. “Intention to sell” can also be inferred from the possession of other objects associated with sales, such as scales for weighing drugs.
    DUI
    Driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    F
    First Judicial District (FJD)
    The Pennsylvania court system is divided into “judicial districts.” The judicial district that operates in Philadelphia is called the First Judicial District (“FJD”). The Courts that comprise the FJD are the Municipal Court (which includes Traffic Court) and the Court of Common Pleas (which includes both the criminal and family courts). Because Philadelphia is large, the FJD covers just Philadelphia. Other Judicial Districts can cover more than one county.
    Future Years of Incarceration
    All of the years of incarceration imposed on defendants in all cases that ended in a given time period. For example, the future years of incarceration imposed in Philadelphia on a particular day can be calculated by adding up all of the carceral sentences imposed on all defendants in Philadelphia that day.

    To calculate future years of incarceration, we make a few assumptions:

    1. We only track the jail/prison time that we assume a person will serve.
    2. Anyone serving time in the Philadelphia jails (sentences with a maximum of less than 2 years) will be released at their minimum sentence length.
    3. Anyone serving time in state prison (sentences with a maximum sentence of 2 years or more) will be released at 130% of their minimum sentence (e.g., a person with a 1-2 year sentence will be released in 1.3 years).
    4. Consolidated sentences are treated as concurrent, not consecutive. When a person is sentenced in multiple cases on a single day, we assume that these cases have been consolidated and dealt with as a group. For the purpose of future years, we only look at the longest minimum and maximum sentences from that group of cases.
    5. We only look at original sentences, not violations of parole or probation.
    One of the goals of DA Larry Krasner’s policies is to reduce the number of years of future incarceration and future supervision. Overly long prison sentences and terms of parole and probation cost millions in public dollars without improving public safety. In fact, research show that mass incarceration and over-supervision actually have a negative effect on people and communities. By making plea offers and sentencing recommendations below the low end of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines, DA Krasner has espoused a different approach to sentencing policy. This will save millions of dollars that could be used to improve education, repair infrastructure and improve living conditions for all Philadelphians, while at the same time insuring that criminal behavior is punished appropriately.
    Future Years of Supervision

    All of the years of supervision imposed on defendants in all cases that ended in a given time period. For example, the future years of supervision imposed in Philadelphia on a particular day can be calculated by adding up all of the probation and parole sentences imposed on all defendants in Philadelphia that day.

    To calculate future years of supervision, we make a few assumptions:

    1. We only track the supervision time that a person will actually serve.
    2. Anyone serving time in the Philadelphia jails (sentences with a maximum of less than 2 years) will be released at their minimum sentence length. The balance of their sentence (max - min) is counted as supervision.
    3. Anyone serving time in state prison (sentences with a maximum sentence of 2 years or more) will be released at 130% of their minimum sentence (e.g. a person with a 1-2 year sentence will be released in 1.3 years). The balance of their sentence (max - 1.3 x min) is counted as supervision.
    4. Consolidated sentences are treated as concurrent, not consecutive. When a person is sentenced in multiple cases on a single day, we assume that these cases have been consolidated and dealt with as a group. For the purpose of future years, we only look at the longest minimum and maximum sentences from that group of cases.
    5. We only look at original sentences, not violations of probation or parole.
    One of the goals of DA Krasner’s policies is to reduce the number of years of Future Supervision. Research shows that periods of probation or parole supervision that last beyond three years without any violations have diminishing returns and instead keep people needlessly ensnared in the system. In making plea offers and sentencing recommendations, the DAO is very cognizant of this finding. Because of the requirements of Pennsylvania’s sentencing laws, it is not always possible to limit parole following an sentence to incarceration for a reasonable amount of time. But, to the extent possible, the DAO is attempting to reduce the amount of time people are required to spend on probation and parole.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    G
    Guilty
    A finding of guilt by a Judge or Jury after trial.
    Guilty Plea/Nolo

    Instead of going to trial, an accused person may choose to admit guilt and go directly to sentence. A guilty plea can be open or negotiated.

    • A negotiated plea is an agreement between the DAO and the accused on the charges that the accused will admit guilt to, the charges that will be dropped, and the sentence that will be recommended to the judge for the case. The agreement is sometimes called a plea bargain.
    • An open plea is one where the accused admits guilt and then the judge sets the sentence without a recommendation from the DAO.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    H
    Held without Bail
    In some cases, an accused person can be held without bail pending trial. A person charged with 1st degree murder must be held without bail in Pennsylvania, however, individuals charged with a less lesser crime can also be held without bail, depending on a number of factors.
    Homicide
    The killing of one person by another. There are many different types of homicide in Pennsylvania, ranging from intentional homicide to negligent homicide to felony homicide.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    I
    Incarceration
    Imprisoning a person. In Pennsylvania, sentences to periods of incarceration include both a minimum and a maximum length. The maximum length is required to be at least twice as long as the minimum sentence (e.g., 1-2 years and 1-5 years are both allowed; 2-3 years is not allowed). Unless paroled early, a person generally isn’t eligible for parole until they have reached their minimum sentence.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    N
    Not Guilty/Acquittal
    A finding by either jury or judge that the prosecution has failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    O
    Offense
    Another word for a crime.
    Other Offenses
    Other Offenses is a summary category for offenses that do not fall into the categorizations of violent, property, or drug, or for which the categorization is unknown.
    Outcomes

    The various ways that a criminal case can end. We have created 5 high level outcome groupings that capture all of the ways a case can end. These are all defined elsewhere on this page:

  • Dismissed/Withdrawn/Etc
  • Diversion
  • Not Guilty/Acquittal
  • Guilty
  • Guilty Plea/Nolo
  • ▲ Return to the Top
    P
    Offense Category
    The general classification of an offense. See the limitations page for more information about some problems that come with using this classification system.
    Parole
    The period of community supervision that occurs when a person has been sentenced to prison but is released before serving their maximum incarceration sentence. Parole is served until the person has reached their maximum sentence date.
    Parts I & II Offenses
    As part of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, offense types are divided into three categories:
  • Part I Crimes, considered the most serious. These include: criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, auto theft, and arson.
  • Part II Crimes. These include: other assaults, forgery and counterfeiting, fraud, embezzlement, stolen property, vandalism, weapons violations, prostitution and commercialized vice, sex offenses, drug violations, gambling, offenses against family and children, driving under the influence, liquor law violations, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and vagrancy.
  • All other offenses. This category includes all violations of state and local laws not specifically defined as a Part I or II offense, except traffic violations.
  • Police District
    In Philadelphia, a Police District is a mid-level geographic management area maintained by the Philadelphia Police Department. There are 21 Police Districts in Philadelphia.
    Probation
    Community supervision that is directly ordered by a judge. This is distinguished from parole, which is supervised released from prison. A person may be sentenced to just probation or may receive a sentence of incarceration followed by a period of probation. The latter is often referred to as a “probation tail.”
    Property Offenses
    Property Arrests is a summary category for offenses categorized as property crimes.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    R
    Rape
    Engaging in sexual intercourse through force, the threat of force, with an unconscious or seriously impaired individual, or with an individual who suffers from a mental disability that makes them incapable of consent. See 18 Pa.C.S. 3121. Rape, as used in our website, does not refer to other types of rape or sexual assault.
    Release on Recognizance (ROR)
    A bail condition that allows a person to be released from custody without having to pay any money to be released. The person signs a paper stating that they will return for future court listings but is not required to pay any money to be released.
    Retail Theft
    Theft of merchandise from a store. This includes altering prices or labels to pay less than the actual price of the merchandise.
    Robbery
    A robbery is a theft from a person involving the use of force or threat of force.
    Robbery/Gun
    A robbery where the force or threat of force involves a gun.
    Robbery/Other
    A robbery where the force or threat of force does not involve a gun.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    S
    Supervision
    For the purposes of this webpage, it refers to supervision over parole and probation.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    T
    Theft
    Illegally taking someone else’s property with the intent of not giving it back. Theft usually does not refer to theft directly from a person, as that would be considered robbery.
    Theft from Auto
    The theft of property from a motor vehicle, but not theft of the vehicle itself or the taking of parts of the vehicle.
    Theft from Person
    Theft of property from a person, not involving force or the threat of force. Pickpocketing is a common example.
    Theft of Motor Vehicle Tag
    The theft of license plates from a motor vehicle.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    U
    Unknown Bail
    A categorization of bail amount for cases for which we do not have sufficient bail data.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    V
    Violent Offenses
    Violent Offenses is a summary category for offenses categorized as violent crimes.
    ▲ Return to the Top
    Y
    Yr-Yr Change
    Year-over-Year Change refers to the percent change from a prior time period to the current time period.
    YTD
    Year-to-Date refers to a total number of instances that occurred between the beginning of the year (Jan 1) and the date of the report.
    ▲ Return to the Top