Homicide rates in the U.S. last year were 30% higher than in 2019, according to a new report released Monday.
The sharp jump in homicides meant an additional 1,268 deaths from the previous year in the 34 cities covered in the report, which was put out by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice and Arnold Ventures.
Only four cities – Raleigh, North Carolina; Baltimore; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Virginia Beach – had a decrease in homicides.
Although various researchers speculated on the influence of the coronavirus pandemic and protests against the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer on the rise in homicides, Thomas Abt, senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice and an author of the report, noted:
"Homicide was up all year. It was up before the pandemic started, it was up before police violence and the death of George Floyd, and it continued throughout the year. This points to multiple factors operating at the same time."
Despite the sharp rise in homicides, the rate in the 34 cities studied was 11.4 per 100,000 residents, which was still well below the homicide rate of 19.4 per 100,000 those same cities had in 1995.
Aggravated assaults and assaults involving a firearm also both experienced a sharp rise last year, according to the report, but property crime rates were mostly down, though motor vehicle thefts went up by more than 12% compared to 2019.
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