Law/Justice

The rise in murders in the US, explained

By German Lopez, Vox

The homicide rate is significantly up in American cities. Here are some explanations for why.

As if the Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t bad enough, America is also seeing a surge in homicides this year.

A new report, by the Council on Criminal Justice, found homicides have increased sharply this year across 21 US cities with relevant data: “Homicide rates increased by 42% during the summer and 34% in the fall over the summer and fall of 2019.” Other data, from crime analyst Jeff Asher, found murder is up 36 percent throughout the year so far, compared to the same period in 2019, in a sample of 51 US cities. A preliminary FBI report also found murders up 15 percent nationwide in the first half of 2020.

The increase in homicides is large and widespread enough to raise serious alarms for criminologists and other experts. So what’s going on?

Some experts have cited the protests this summer over the police killings of George Floyd and others — which could’ve had a range of effects, from officers pulling back from their duties to greater community distrust in police, leading to more unchecked violence. Others point to the bad economy. Another potential factor is a huge increase in gun purchases this year. Still others posit boredom and social displacement as a result of physical distancing leading people to cause more trouble.

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