(CNN) — More than two-thirds of the 40 most populous cities in the United States saw more homicides last year than in 2020, according to a CNN analysis of data from Police Departments.
Ten of those cities had more homicides in 2021 than in any other year on record. This is Philadelphia; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Portland, Oregon; Memphis, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Milwaukee; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Tucson, Arizona. Minneapolis tied his previous record homicides, with 97 in the years 1997 and 2021.
Many cities saw homicides hit near record highs last year. Chicago Police investigated 797 last year, the most since 1996. But more than 800 homicides occurred within the city if you include the freeway shootings, which are investigated by a different agency.
Homicides also increased 12% in Los Angeles since 2020 and 4% in New York. Several cities did not respond to CNN requests for data; the number of cities reporting year-on-year increases may grow.
Homicides spiked in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and subsequent riots in cities across the country. For many cities, high homicide rates continued into 2021.
What is the cause of the increase in homicides?
The increase in homicides – mostly by firearms – occurred throughout the country. Thomas Abt, Principal Investigator for the Criminal Justice Council, attributed the spike to three main factors: the impact of COVID-19 on communities and first aid teams; the consequences of social unrest after Floyd’s murder; and the increase in arms sales since the pandemic began.
These increases are not exclusive to any region. One-year increases do not always indicate significant growth in crime. But nearly every major city in the United States saw more homicides in both 2020 and 2021 than in 2019. Homicides rose sharply in the summer of 2020 and have remained at high levels ever since.
According to him 2020 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) From the FBI, homicides increased 30% from 2019 to 2020, the largest single-year increase the agency has recorded since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s.
“The pandemic, like community violence with firearms, is concentrated among the poorest and most disadvantaged people,” he said. Abt told CNN in December. “So those communities are doubly affected, not just by covid-19, but by gun violence.”
At the same time, institutions charged with responding to the violence, such as the police and community organizations, were also under stress, Abt added, calling it a “perfect storm.”
Although experts say the reasons for the increase in homicides are varied, killings are increasingly carried out with firearms. The rise in gun violence was highlighted in the 2020 UCR report, which noted that around 77% of reported murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, up from 74% in 2019. There is no basis for federal gun sales data, but other independent surveys have found that Arms sales soared during the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the FBI report, which summarizes the crime of 2020, the number of homicides for that year began to climb during the summer months, peaking in June and July, and staying at high levels. Capturing a complete picture of homicide in the United States is almost impossible. The UCR report is the most comprehensive data set available, but participation by law enforcement agencies is voluntary.
About 85% of the more than 18,000 agencies in the country submitted their crime data in 2020 to the FBI. The 2021 UCR report is not likely to be released until the end of this year.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism