Crime Watch: Robberies and Rapes Way Down, Homicides Way Up Across US

According to statistics compiled from 223 police agencies, homicides across the United States have risen more than 28 percent and aggravated assaults around nine percent in the first nine months of 2020.

A Washington Post article details some of the cities where homicides have risen dramatically since this time last year. For example, Boston’s homicide rate has increased by 52 percent and Fort Worth’s by 66 percent. Interestingly enough, the cities that experienced some of the worst summer rioting have seen homicides skyrocket the most: Minneapolis (85 percent increase), Louisville (79 percent increase), Portland (68 percent increase), and Milwaukee (110 percent increase).

Overall, 70 percent of the large cities surveyed saw an increase in homicides, 21 percent a decrease, and nine percent no change.

There are several factors that could account for this, such as the coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions, the mass riots over “police brutality” and “systemic racism,” law enforcement budget cuts, and criminal justice reform.

In Houston, a city that did not see the levels of summer chaos that other cities saw, homicides are up 35 percent, and Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Heather Morris is partly blaming bail reform.

“We had 28 suspects last year who were on bond or parole when they committed a murder,” Morris said, “and this year we’ve had 44. The person who killed one of our officers a week ago was out on $100 bond for unlawfully possessing a weapon. […] Bond reform in some cases is needed, but you have people who allegedly committed violent crimes getting out on bond when they haven’t in the past.”

Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), said of the nationwide spikes: “We haven’t seen numbers like this since the ’90s. We’ve had 20 years of steady declines in crime. Is this just an aberration, or does this portend something for the future? This has been under the radar because of the pandemic, but something’s happening across the country in the most serious crimes. The next administration, they’re going to have to pay serious attention to this.”

Despite these troubling numbers in homicide rates, rapes and robberies are significantly down compared to last year. 73 percent of large cities reported decreases in robberies and 86 percent in rapes. This may be due to the coronavirus pandemic as well, since people are not out and about at the same level as last year.

In other recent crime news, Big League Politics reported that minorities are more likely to commit hate crimes than whites, per FBI statistics.