Murders rose by almost 30 percent nationwide in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a tumultuous presidential election and pushback against police-related killings of Black people, according to data gathered by the FBI for its annual Uniform Crime Report, reports The New York Times.
The Times said it appeared to be the biggest spike in murder since national record-keeping began in 1960.
Data indicates that murders continue to rise in 2021, although at a slower rate, and that the national rate – murders per 100,000 – remains below its levels in the early 1990s. The 29 percent rise in murders in 2020 was the biggest since the FBI started collecting crime records in 1960, according to the Times.
The FBI date also says:
- The previous largest one-year increase in murders nationwide was 12.7 percent in 1968.
- 77 percent of murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, up from 67 percent a decade ago. That's the highest share ever reported, the Times said.
- Louisiana had the highest murder rate for the 32nd straight year.
- Overall major crimes fell about 4-5 percent while there was a roughly 5 percent increase in violent crime.
- Murder rose over 35 percent in cities with populations over 250,000, over 40 percent in cities 100,000 to 250,000 and around 25 percent in cities under 250,000.
- Murder was up at least 20 percent in every region of the country and in counties carried by President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
- A total of 21,500 people were murdered in 2020, 5,000 more than in 2019.
The 2020 murder surge “is the largest increase in violence we’ve seen since 1960, when we started collecting formal crime statistics,” John Roman, a criminal justice expert at NORC at the University of Chicago, told Vox in late March. “We’ve never seen a year-over-year increase even approaching this magnitude.”
A separate report published by the Council on Criminal Justice found a 30 percent increase in homicide rates in 2020 that included more mass shootings.
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