Video Game Link to Philadelphia’s Murder Rate? Politicians Probing

crime-scene.jpgPhiladelphia’s homicide rate is out of control. Nobody in the city disputes that. So are local politicians blaming crime, drugs, easily available guns, gangs or poverty?

Nah. Video games. The Evening Bulletin quotes Rep. Ronald Waters (D):

Philadelphia alone has seen 204 homicides so far this year. Violent video games may or may not be a contributing factor, but we will never know unless this issue is seriously studied.

Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there’s no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life.

Waters is one of the original sponsers of H.R. 94, a resolution to study the effects of violent media on children. GamePolitics covered an amendment to the bill in a report published earlier today (see: Pennsylvania Legislature Looking Into Video Game Violence). The Bulletin report speculates that Waters and his colleagues in the Pennsylvania legislature may challenge the accuracy of the ESRB rating system.

Said Darin Broton of the National Institute on Media and the Family:

The 800-lb. gorilla in the room is how do we address graphic media violence. The Pennsylvania House is not the first state legislature to tackle this issue, and it won’t be the last. There really needs to be a national solution, like a universal ratings system.

GP: We covered Rep. Waters’ original move in this direction last September.


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  1. 0
    Anonymous says:

    i totally agree.  people are gonna murder people whether there are video games or not.  that’s like saying CSI is teaching kids how to murder people and get away with it.  DUMB!!!!

  2. 0
    Soga says:

    “There really needs to be a national solution, like a [sic] universal ratings system.”

    So remind me, what’s that “M” on the box doing there anyway?

  3. 0
    BmK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah! Rather then blaming poverty, negligent parenting or hard drug use we’ll just blame video games and entertainment media as it’s easier to make those things a scapegoat for these problems rather then deal with the real problems out there.
    I really fucking hate politicans now. Both the Censorcrats and Republimoralists. Both parties need to be taken out of power immediately. They are useless and have no idea how or don’t want to take the time and money to solve the real problems out there. Vote Green, Vote Libertarian, Vote Independant, just don’t vote for the two main useless parties that are in power right now. Don’t vote for the lesser of two evils. Lets show the Republicans and Democrats we are sick of their bullshit and fucking around once and for all.

  4. 0
    Dexee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Heres the thing about it all as well, Penn is known for hate crimes as well. Drugs, Gangs, Sex, More Drugs, No Police.. almost sounds like where I live :X

  5. 0
    Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The most violent periods in modern American history had nothing to do with games and all to do with drugs and gangs. Why are things any different today? Because people – and therefore politicians – want to believe that we’re moving forward and therefore they will believe that it’s not the same problem that we’ve already “conquered” rearing its ugly head again because it actually stems from deep seated cultural and social issues that would require real work to change, rather it’s [insert latest thing here]. It sucks for us that the latest thing is our preferred pastime.

  6. 0
    Black Manta ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You know, the murder rate here in Baltimore is just as bad if not worse. Are they blaming video games for the problem here? NO! Thankfully they’re focusing on poverty and how the police department can improve, which are more substantial issues. Sounds to me like the Pennsylvania govenrment would rahter spend time chasing phantoms than facing the real problem. Our own government in MD may not be perfect either, but at least they have the sense to acknowledge where the real problems lie.

  7. 0
    Shoehorn O'Plenty ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there’s no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life.”

    Later in life? You mean when children become young adults and understand the difference between right and wrong, real and make-believe? Hang on, that doesn’t just happen, there’s something in the background that makes this come about. What is it again? Oh yeah, having been raised properly by their parents or guardians!

    I’m sure there are some people with mental problems that could be adversely effected by violent media, but it is up to their parents/guardians to ensure they do not consume any media not suitable for them. There are children who are severely and dangerously allergic to peanuts. Should companies who make peanut related products be blamed and be asked to stop? No, it’s up to the parents of these children to ensure that their child is not exposed to these things that could be harmful to them. Why can’t people understand this?

    They should commission a study into the effects of a lack of proper upbringing, or anti-social tendencies, drug use or gangs instead. You know, some of the things that are actually involved in criminal activities?

  8. 0
    F**ked up says:

    Ok lets play the blame game.

    I proposed that the rate of homicides in PA has to do with the number of Inept politicians. The longer inept and incompetent politicians stay in office there is in an increase in homicide rates. The only way to bring down the crime rates is to put more inept and incompetent politicians into office so they can make more stupid laws to arrest anyone

    watching TV,
    playing video games,
    wearing the hood of their sweater over their head,
    watching movies,
    playing with water guns,
    throwing water balloons,
    any (if not all) impressionable children,
    people wearing baggy clothing,
    for wearing red,
    for wearing blue,
    for flashing the peace sign,
    for not speaking proper english,
    looking suspicious,
    for being black,
    for being asian,
    for being trailer trash,
    for being mexican,
    and for not being an inept or incompetent politician.

    although its funny. We charge 14 year olds as an Adult if they commit a crime. But yet we treat them as a child when it comes to what they can watch. Its funny though that historically 14 years old made you an adult. And now ur adult depending on what you do.

  9. 0
    Dexee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    I think that one way of taking the challenge is to get rid of all the politicians that don’t know jackshit about whats REALLY going on in their country rather than what the PTC, Liberal Media, NIMF and the Church of England tell them…

  10. 0
    Terminator44 says:

    Wow, drugs, gangs, and guns don’t even get a passing mention here. Never mind that the FBI has listed those (and not games) factors as the most likely causes of the upsurge in crime in some cities. Funny how the Philadelphia government and NIMF act like they know more about crime than the top law enforcement agency in the country.

    To everyone in Philly, PLEASE vote these clowns out of office. They obviously aren’t interested in solving your city’s high crime rates.

  11. 0
    Pissed Off says:

    Hi. I live in Philly and I can tell you that the problem with the murder rate in this city could be fixed by doing the following:

    Combat drug trafficking in the city.
    Reduce poverty in the area.
    Improve public schools in poorer neighborhoods.
    Reducing the number of gangs in the area.
    Increasing the number of community centers in impoverished areas.
    Increasing police presence in the city, and especially in impoverished areas.
    Get Mayor Street out of office.
    Fix the Septa crisis.

    And last but not least, GET GUNS OFF THE STREETS.

    In 2006, residents of this city thought that having more guns on the streets would reduce the occurrences of crimes, and of violence. They made their voices heard in local city papers. What has been happening for the past few years is that guns HAVE been solving disputes in the city, but many of these disputes usually end in gun fire and death.

    The problem is that while honest, law abiding citizens have been using guns to legitimately protect themselves, so do every other nefarious citizen, gang banger, drug dealer, etc.

    Fact: 80 percent of the homicides in Philadelphia are committed with guns, and 10 percent of the victims of gun violence are juveniles.

    In Philadelphia, if you give a person on the street the wrong kind of look, then you’re likely to have a gun jammed in your face. People DO shoot each other over petty disputes, whether it be that you said something offensive to someone’s friend or the person wants your shoes (yes there are documented cases of murders occurring for BOTH of the listed reasons).

    This legislation is truly a waste of tax payer dollars, time, and does not make me feel any safer in this blasted city. There are more viable alternatives which can be applied right now to help combat crime in Philadelphia.

  12. 0
    Mairie says:

    Crime, drugs, easily available guns, gangs or poverty have one big problem though. It’s stuff the politicians are “supposed” to “solve”, so it’s the choice between confessing they are not able to do their jobs or finding someone to blame. Seems they know what to do.

  13. 0
    Tom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Dexee

    Politicians are paper dolls – they have no real substance other then what’s imbued into them by their electorate or, as is the case in recent years, the lobbyists. Even if you take all of them down and elect the entire government over from scratch they will still reflect the biases of the voters. Change comes from the few politicians with balls, but we see less and less of those in recent years.

    You solve the problems by educating the people so they elect politicians who enact legislation that actually targets the root causes of these issues.

  14. 0
    Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So is the Evening Bulletin a branch of The Onion or something? Scapegoating of this magnitude has to be a joke right? To ignore the obvious problems in lieu of games, it has to be a joke.

  15. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s because this way Politicians can ‘do something’ about the problem without actually ‘doing something’ about it, thus ensuring that there is still something for them to ‘do’ when re-election comes around.

  16. 0
    Vinzent ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I wish someone would ask these politicians (in front of reporters)…

    “Do you believe that this legislation will end violent crime?”

    “What percentage do you expected violent crime will decrease with passage of this bill?”

    “What do you intend to do about the other leading factors of crime, namely: unemployment, poverty, gangs, and drugs?”

  17. 0
    AgnostoTheo ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    One word. Disgusting.
    Of all the things a government can choose to waste money on, why this? No study they’re going to throw onto the ever-growing pile of garbage that’s been called video game research is going to affect any real change, so why try? Do politicians do this crap because they get bored? “Let’s spend the money of game research RATHER than fund the police force to reduce the crime rate DIRECTLY.” This whole move is horrendously disgusting.

  18. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Funny thing is, if the results of this testing comes out as ‘Video Games are nothing to worry about’, do you honestly think they will simply say ‘Okay’ and move onto other things?

  19. 0
    Coravin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Vinzent
    I believe you meant, “What do you intend to do about the ACTUAL leading factors of crime, namely: unemployment, poverty, gangs, and drugs?”
    But, well, the answer to that would be to redirect attention toward video games and away from incompetent politicians.
    Pennsylvania has some incredible disparities in education, income, and environment, yet with all the evidence that crime is increased by allowing so many to fall toward the lower end while only bettering those at the top, here we are contemplating spending needed money on frivolous legislation.
    And they wonder why the people most in need of better [insert anything here] don’t trust the government enough to leave their betterment (and taxes) in its hands….

  20. 0
    tempo says:

    I would hope so Mr. RobotUs…

    I was going to say, why not have every city in the US do a lame study like this, it would probably be cheaper than teaching all the poli’s to read, or comprehend existing studies.

    Even including the 10 bil. for a ‘What is google?’ power point presentation..

  21. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Tempo, I hope so too, but I simply have a feeling they will come up with some reason to legislate anyway, like most of these reports regarding Video Games, they are approached with the ‘Fred Phelps’ school of thinking, in other words, there are something like a Million words in the Bible, Fred Phelps only cares about 7 of them ‘Thou Shall Not lay with another man.’, the other 900K odd are irrelevent. Politicians read studies in much the same way, they look for the paragraph that serves their purpose and ignore the rest of the study.

  22. 0
    Archgabe ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I was once proud to be an American. I was once a Patriot. Now I see that it has all been for naught seeing as the people who run the country are no longer afraid of it’s people. Supid laws are made by politicians who feel safe. Once their ass is on the line do they actualy work and fix things. When will this end?

  23. 0
    monolithic says:

    As someone who lived in Philly for three years, I find it appalling that the idiots in the legislature would even dare to suggest video games are a contributing factor to violence in the city. I’m sure rampant drug use and turf/block wars have nothing to do with the city being dubbed “Killadelphia”. 25 To Life definitely has more of an impact.

  24. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Pissed Offed

    So let me get this straight. A couple of years ago they made it easier for people to get and carry guns. Then a couple of years down the line they notice an increase in homicides and they blame video games.

    How ignorant do you have to be to not make the connection.

  25. 0
    Dexee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Killadelphia Residents
    I’m really sorry to hear that your all living in a city of living shit. Hopefully you can get something together to completely restructure your local area. If you must, incite some rather large mob to take over the city government. Or even better, ask your local National Guard to help with these problems.

  26. 0
    Pirra says:

    So… let me get this straight.
    A few years it was made easier to get guns if Philly…
    and now there is a rampant increase of killings…
    IT’S THE M@&$#! F*%!*$# VIDEOGAMES!!!!!111!!!11!!!!!1!!!!!one!!!!!!!

    I think that’s what’s going though the politicians heads.

    Actually it’s probably more like “I’m going to blame video games so the gun lobbyists will will keep sucking my c@*!.”

    And to thing someone elected these dumd@$$es.

  27. 0
    Miang ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A little off topic here —

    anyone interested in trying to change partisan politics in the upcoming ’08 presidential election should check out

    I know it won’t do anything on the state level, but it is possible that having an executive branch that can overcome partisanship might be able to direct the government to focus more strongly on important issues; i.e. war in iraq, health care, education, social security etc.

  28. 0
    tempo says:


    Does anyone have a wiki or something?
    maybe we could all total up the money and time wasted on this kind of stuff from every local state or city area across the country.

    I’ll totlly make a pie chart!

    maybe comparing it to the amounts spent on text books? hmm…

  29. 0
    tempo says:


    because, pie charts are easy to understand for politicians.

    One can point at the different colors, and explain that the color represents a number of dollars…
    wait that’s maybe already to much

  30. 0
    MasterAssassin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wow this is frankly just unbelievable

    Lets assume what they say is true that violent games are a contributing factor. Why hasn’t this been happening in other cities? I live in Chicago which 6 years ago used to be the most violent city in the whole country. We had over 600 homicides at one time. We got a new Police Chief who finally started doing something and our homicide rate went down. And this is when GTA3 was being accused of corrupting my generation’s morals and turning us all into mobsters in training. This is just an attempt to distract everyone from the real problems which actually *GASP* take some time and thought to fix. I honestly can’t believe we are gonna waste more money this crap, espicially when another study came out that showed that violent games may actually be GOOD for you.

  31. 0
    Freekill says:

    I always wonder if people consider the possibility that video games are affected by the real world, instead of the other way around. The world is getting more violent, so games are getting more violent as well. After all games are shaped by us right?

  32. 0
    nocturnowl says:

    “Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there’s no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life.”

    yes cause kids are retarded. wow thats a big insult. i thought kids were the future? what happened to being smart and knowing the diffrence between right and wrong being natural

  33. 0
    JC says:

    “Apparently, video games secretly come out of their disk cases and then are used to shoot people which results in homicide.”

    -Ronald Waters

    This shouldn’t even be considered libel, as that is basically what he is saying.
    I can’t wait for Jon Stewart to make fun of this idiot.
    I guess he wants to keep the gun shops lining his pockets with money and blame the video games since they give him the finger for being such a corrupt prick.

    Poor Philly, known as Killy hereafter; it is just being shit on so a politician can enjoy his money and have fun wiping his ass with dollar bills. I bet Bam would hate to visit his hometown Killy now, it must suck when you hometown becomes full of crime only to have people blame it on games than something realistic.
    I guess when we’re older our grandchildren will be asking us why did politicians do such mean things to people?

    I’m sick of hearing of crap like this.

  34. 0
    illspirit ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Pirra, E. Zachary Knight, et al

    Umm, nobody made it any “easier” to get guns in 2006. A State delegate from Philly proposed a to law repeal State preemption so that Philly could try to pass local laws banning all firearms, as well as trying to pass a State-wide gun ban and/or one-gun-a-month rationing. Needless to say, the rest of the State told them to STFU. In short, absolutely nothing changed.

  35. 0
    Evan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I know it has already been said, but are these murderers running around with controllers in their back pockets and Halo shirts on? Seriously this is just another attempt to use unrelated events to press on personal agendas of legislators. Seems like these days you can think of countless examples of politicians taking advantage of the situation do throw some dirt at something they have been waiting to.

  36. 0
    J-Guy says:

    Pfft. Everyone know that the real cause of crime is the jealousy, greed, and lust for the amazing power and taste of cheese. What we need to do is take away the cheese from the people.

    Seriously: Scapegoating is nothing new. But the fact that most of the articles posted on this site have to do with scapegoating video games makes me sick to my stomach.

  37. 0
    P01s0n says:

    To cover a few things, the ESRB is a highly effective rating system, but it can’t control the the psychological state of the people that play it. On the same note, parents should monitor games as well, not just rely on the ratings system. I thank theCurse for the magnificent point that he made: How many of these homicides wre caused by children. Children can tell the difference between reality and game if it is regulated. I am thirteen and during christmas break I powergamed for a few days to beat Final Fantasy XII. This does not mean that I do it constantly. That is where confusion begins to happen. Take your kids outside for at least an hour a day, do something as a family, don’t let your kids sit in front of the television or computer all day. As far as I’m concerned on the Philidelphia homicides that is a political thing that has to do with living conditions and maybe the Philidelphia mob.

  38. 0
    jonc2006 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    how is a universal rating system going to change or affect a murder rate? and moreso, what does that have to do with a murder rate in the first place?

  39. 0

    “Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world, and there’s no telling what impact this exposure to violence will have on them later in life.”

    I’d settle for one example of when a child couldn’t understand the difference between a video game and real life, provided that child was able to clearly distinguish those dividing lines in other forms of media.

    I’d also love to see this printed some day, “Parents can’t always understand the difference between an M rating and content appropriate for their children…”

  40. 0
    Waffles ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, if I tried to add anything to this, I’d just be rehashing whats already been said about crime in Philadelphia.

    I’ll just say that this proposed legislation is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Philly who want to solve these problems.

  41. 0
    Citizen_Snips says:

    It is really sad to see something like this happen in an area that I grew up. I guess the local government needs to latch on to something to distract the people from the horrible conditions of the schools, their (in some cases) non-existent student attendance, Drug use among bored adolescents, a police force that almost has a worse reputation than the L.A. cops, I would list more but I’m lazy.

    This is just a diversionary tactic, much like what magicians use, only it costs you more than the price of admission and your distended believe wore off in the first few seconds of watching this lame side show.

  42. 0
    Dan Olson says:

    I know another group of people who have trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction…

    … Politicians!

    I would now like to amend the guy’s quote:

    “Philadelphia alone has seen 204 homicides so far this year. Giant roaming gorillas may or may not be a contributing factor, but we will never know unless this issue is seriously studied.”

    That said, video game violence exposure is just like all violence exposure… it almost certainly makes people less sensitive to violence in general. But given that the entire culture’s entertainment is based around violence, it’s poor form to start pointing fingers.

    Of course everyone knows this. But politicians are the weak link in this country. Seriously… how can you expect people to make good decisions about anything when the key to keeping their job is saying what people want to hear? And we put those people in power? And then we complain about it?

    The system is broken. We can’t rely on it to represent our interests.

  43. 0
    Athest ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    *sigh* glad i’ll be moving away from PA soon. Dont’ see them going after other forms of violent media, or addressing other things. Morons.

  44. 0
    MST3K says:

    The system is broken? These asshats were VOTED into their positions for the most part. The system is fine, the people voting for said asshats in support of their own “special” interests and the generally uninformed masses (thanks to the media’s unwillingness to care about truth in favor of the almighty dollar) are the problem. Educate the public and the douchebags will have no outlet/blanket of protection to spout their rhetorical bs and actually get elected. As the late, great Bill Hicks put it (roughly): “Go back to sleep, America…here’s 42 channels of American Gladiators, watch THIS! Your government has everything under control…”

    Also disagree that violent media makes people less sensitive to REAL WORLD violence. It obviously makes them less sensitive to other violence in media (which would make sense) but seeing + experiencing the real thing is worlds apart, as anyone who has can tell you. More edumacation please.

  45. 0
    Multi-V says:

    The only way to become less sensitive to realworld violence, is to commit lots of real world violence. To say otherwise would be like saying playing cops & robbers is training/desensitization for the real thing. It just doesn’t check out…

  46. 0
    John Smith says:

    Ive always argued that in a world with no depiction of violence of knowledge of it at all people would do things without knowing the consequences of their actions.

    Why on slow news weeks cant theyjust run stories on talking ducks, and why do they have to dress the news with their own ,to be frank petty opinions

  47. 0
    squigs says:

    Children learn the difference between reality and fiction at quite a young age. They’re not killing each other until they’re really quite old.

  48. 0
    Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “The system is broken? These asshats were VOTED into their positions for the most part. The system is fine, the people voting for said asshats in support of their own “special” interests and the generally uninformed masses (thanks to the media’s unwillingness to care about truth in favor of the almighty dollar) are the problem.”

    It really doesn’t matter how educated or informed you are. When both your choices suck, which most elections come down to, then who do you vote for?

  49. 0
    Jesse says:

    “Children can’t always understand the difference between the video game world and the real world…”

    Are there any studies to support this? I have never personally encountered a child who had a problem differentiating between real life and make believe.

  50. 0
    Pirra says:

    Hears how we fix this. Young people… VOTE!!!!!!!!! In the ’04 presidential election the voter turnout for 18 to 20somthings was ABYSMAL and it’s even WORSE for local elections!!! Start getting active and MAKE YOU’RE VOICE HEARD!!! This goes for all elections from school board to police chef to mayor to governor to congress to president!!! OH MY GOD IT’S THAT EASY SO F#!*$^# DO IT!!!!!!!!

    P.S. If any of you are not going to vote in the ’08 Presidential elections PLEASE just vote for Obama or Nader so you can do SOME good with you apathetic life.

  51. 0
    Austin Lewis ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Let’s completely ignore the real problem and waste tax money on a study, that fixes everything!
    In a related note, Obama is a jackass and a tool.

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