Violent Labor Day weekend

Labor Day 2015 wasn’t just a long weekend featuring festival concerts like Made in America, backyard barbecues, or celebrations of America’s workers and unions. Here in Philadelphia, the three-day fete turned into a protracted period of mayhem and destruction.

Over the weekend, to cite just a few instances, the Philadelphia metro area witnessed: a shooting in front of the Theatre of the Living Arts at Fourth and South streets that killed one man; a woman who authorities say leaped in front of a police wagon at 56th and Spruce streets who is now hospitalized; a skateboarder in his 20s killed by a motorist in Plymouth Township in Montgomery County; and, two pedestrians killed by a taxicab at Broad and Race streets.

Cops say that the victims of the taxicab incident, a male and female both in their twenties, were in town for the Made in America concert.

In addition to those tragedies, the Philadelphia Police Department is also currently searching for the culprits behind a bizarre incident at Fourth and Lombard streets. Cops say that a car was overturned by a group of passersby early on Labor Day. Authorities are still trying to make sense of that one.

These kinds of spikes in accidents and crime aren’t uncharacteristic, according to experts.

It’s common for motor vehicle deaths to increase on holiday weekends, explains the Pennsylvania Media Association (PAMED).

“An emergency medicine specialist who has worked over Independence or Labor Day,” said PAMED’s Dr. Bruce A. MacLeod, “has likely seen a traffic accident victim rolled into the emergency department.

The state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) says car crashes, including those involving pedestrians, increase “during holiday periods due to the volume of traffic on the roadway.”

In terms of violent crime, police officers often anecdotally cite holiday weekends, particularly during the hot summer, as magnets for crime. In terms of the hard numbers, though, there is mixed evidence that this is actually true – though, many criminologists agree that hot weather increases incidents of property crimes.

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