“No Modern Precedent” for America’s Homicide Rate Spike, According to Crime Analysts

A report from the National Commission of COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ) has found that murder rates in the US increased by historic levels from 2019 to 2020.

The year 2020 saw 1,200 more killings than 2019 in a sample of 34 American cities. Homicide rates also increased by 30 percent, and according to the report they were higher “during every month of 2020 relative to rates from the previous year.” The report called the 30 percent increase “troubling” and claims it has “no modern precedent.”

In addition to a rise in homicides, other forms of crime that also rose were auto thefts and both aggravated and gun assaults.

Not all crime had skyrocketed, however: robberies, burglaries, larcenies, and drug-related crimes all decreased from 2019 levels.

2020 was the year of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as political and racial unrest, so the report naturally analyzed the effects of those events on the crime rates. The analysts believe that the relaxing of COVID restrictions, along with “the strain on at-risk individuals and key institutions,” likely contributed to 2020’s spike in homicide rates.

The report also noted that an increase in murders occurred throughout the summer, following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent violent riots that broke out in nearly every major city across the country. Despite this, it claims there is no “simple connection” between them. It is true that violent crime tends to increase in the summer anyway, but it also seems disingenuous to deny some sort of plausible connection, especially since police departments in major cities had been complaining about how hamstrung they were due to the “defund the police” hysteria.

Overall, violent crime is down from its zenith in the late 80s and early 90s, but upon zooming out to the early 1960s, when crime started steadily increasing, one can see that violent crime is still up significantly from then. There’s almost no chance we return to 1950s and 60s levels of violent crime, so we’ll just have to work with what we’ve got.

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