12 Major Cities are Experiencing All-Time Homicide Records

According to an ABC News report, 12 major American cities have reached annual homicide records in 2021, and there’s less than 3 weeks left in the year. 

Of the 12 cities that have topped their records for kills, five of those bested records that were set or tied in 2020.

“It’s terrible to every morning get up and have to go look at the numbers and then look at the news and see the stories. It’s just crazy. It’s just crazy and this needs to stop,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated after his city broke its yearly homicide record of 500. This record was first set in 1990.

Philadelphia, a city of about 1.5 million people, has racked up 521 homicides (as of December 6) — a figure that’s higher than some of America’s largest cities such as New York (443 as of December 5) and Los Angeles (352 as of November 27). 

Chicago led the nation with 739 homicides by the end of November, which represents a 3% increase from 2020, per data from Chicago Police Department crime data. 1970 is still Chicago’s deadliest year, when 974 homicides occurred.

Several experts believe that there are a number of reasons contributing to the uptick in homicides, which include lower levels of law enforcement staffing, sharp reductions in arrests, and prolonged hardships related to the pandemic. 

Some of the other major cities that have broken annual homicide records are St. Paul, Minnesota; Portland, Oregon; Tucson, Arizona; Toledo, Ohio; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Austin, Texas; Rochester, New York; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“The community has to get fed up,” Captain Frank Umbrino, of the Rochester Police Department, declared during a news conference after the city broke its 30-year-old homicide record on November 11. “We’re extremely frustrated. It has to stop. I mean, it’s worse than a war zone around here lately.”  

Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, Toledo and Baton Rouge broke records set in 2020, while St. Paul broke a record set in 1992.

Per the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report released in September, the nation experienced a 30% increase in murders during 2020. This figure represented the largest single-year increase since the bureau started recording crime statistics 60 years ago.

Robert Boyce, retired chief of detectives for the New York Police Department and a contributor at ABC News, said that although there is no single reason contributing to the rise in crime, one national crime statistic stuck out to him.

“Nobody’s getting arrested anymore,” Boyce declared. “People are getting picked up for gun possession and they’re just let out over and over again.”

According to the FBI crime data, the number of arrests nationwide decreased by 24% in 2020. In 2019, there were over 10 million arrests. However, in 2020, the number of arrests totaled  7.63 million.  These are the lowest numbers in 25 years, per FBI data. No FBI figures have been released in 2021.

Christopher Herrmann, an assistant professor in the Department of Law & Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, believes the decrease in arrests could be explained by the significant number of police officers who retired or resigned in 2020 and 2021.

“I think, unfortunately, police departments are just losing a lot of their best and experienced officers and then because of the economic crisis, because of COVID, are having difficulties in hiring or just delays in hirings,” Herrmann declared.

Herrmann also believes that other factors have contributed to the rise in lethal violence in the last two years. He argued that the Wuhan virus pandemic not only forced courts to shut down and have jails reduce their inmate population to allegedly slow the spread of the virus but it also undermined after-school programs and violence disruption programs. 

Overall, it’s clear that there’s a rampant crime problem in America. Lax criminal justice policies coupled with growing radicalism has made policing a much less desirable function to carry out. While law enforcement bodies are not perfect, weakening them or outright abolishing them is not an option.

National populists can easily cruise to victory by positioning themselves as law and order candidates who can fill in a vacuum that desperately needs to be filled in this era of mass chaos. 

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