According to the Washington Post report, murder rates rose 30 per cent across 34 cities. In four Midwestern cities, that number rose more than 60 per cent, according to police data.
Milwaukee had one of the most shocking growths in murders, with its police reporting a 95 per cent increase over 2019. In 2019, there were 97 murders in the city; in 2020 that number rose to 189.
Louisville showed a 92 per cent increase, with 173 murders reported in 2020 over the 90 in 2019.
New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles – the nation’s three largest cities – all saw sharp increases. There was a 45 per cent increase in New York City, an increase of 55 per cent in Chicago and an increase of 38 per cent in Los Angeles.
Four of the cities involved in the study – Raleigh, Baltimore, St, Petersburg and Virginia Beach – reported decreases in their homicide rates.
The authors of the report suggest that the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests against police violence were the primary factors driving the increase in homicide rates.
According to the report authors, the pandemic stymied “pro-active policing measures” in hot spots for violence that helped keep the homicide rates at bay.
The report indicates there was a dramatic uptick in violence in the wake of the George Floyd killing, which sparked months of protests nationwide.
“The timing is really quite compelling,” Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri at St Louis, told The Post. “It does suggest there is some sort of correlation between” homicides and police violence.
Aggravated assaults also rose, but only by six per cent.
It was not all bad news though; robberies, burglaries and larcenies all decreased in the examined time frame.
The report suggests that the pandemic-driven lockdowns and increase in individuals working from home contributed to the decrease in those crimes.
Drug arrests were also down by 30 per cent, according to the report. The authors suggested that drop was indicative of police forces redirecting their efforts away from drug enforcement.
Despite the increase, 2020’s homicide increases, the total number is still far below the murder rate in the 1990’s.
The homicide rate in 2020 was 11.4 per cent, whereas in 1995 the rate was 19.4 per cent. Both numbers are based on homicides per 100,000 people.