Is Crime Rising in the US?

The year 2020 was strange in every sense of the word, and this also reflected in the crime statistics of the US—numbers related to homicide and other types of violent crime moved in opposite directions, which is rare.

While overall crime and violent crime in 25 large US cities dropped by 5.3% and 2% respectively compared to 2019, murder went up by 16.1%. Twenty of the 25 sampled cities witnessed a rise in murder. Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for each of these cities, which have over 250,000 people, gave information about crimes until May 2020-end.

Homicides typically increase in the summer, which, in 2020, coincided with people emerging from the pandemic lockdown. In Chicago, 14 people were killed and at least 106 shot, the most ever in eight years. Since 1960, the trend of murder increasing but overall violent crime going down was seen only during four years (1993, 2000, 2002 and 2003). Moreover, the spike was not as big as it was in 2020.

There’s a possibility that the increase in murder in 2020 reflects a trend that started before the onset of the pandemic and accelerated over the months that COVID-19 peaked. Below is data showing a change in the number of deaths/dead residents due to homicide in 10 large cities of the US:

1) Atlanta

Pre-COVID 2020: -17%

During parts of June 2020: 4%

2) Chicago

Pre-COVID 2020: 16%

During parts of June 2020: 34%

3) Indianapolis

Pre-COVID 2020: 75%

During parts of June 2020: 38%

4) Jacksonville

Pre-COVID 2020: -3%

During parts of June 2020: 13%

5) Los Angeles

Pre-COVID 2020: -3%

During parts of June 2020: 5%

6) Nashville

Pre-COVID 2020: 92%

During parts of June 2020: 43%

7) New Orleans

Pre-COVID 2020: 14%

During parts of June 2020: 36%

8) New York

Pre-COVID 2020: -13%

During parts of June 2020: 23%

9) Oakland

Pre-COVID 2020: -41%

During parts of June 2020: -8%

10) Philadelphia

Pre-COVID 2020: 11%

During parts of June 2020: 23%

Determining the reason behind the rise in murder is a challenge the authorities need to tackle.

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