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Thomas Gallatin / September 27, 2021

U.S. Homicide Rate Soared in 2020

There were 5,000 more murders committed in 2020 than in 2019, the highest rise since records have been kept.

The annual murder rate in the U.S. jumped by the highest percentage since the FBI first began tracking numbers in 1960. Nearly 5,000 more murders (a 29% increase) were committed in 2020 than in 2019, according to the FBI’s recently released Uniform Crime Report. The previous largest one-year increase was in 1968, which saw a 12.7% rise in homicides. What made 2020 so deadly?

There are likely a myriad of factors to explain this sudden spike, but leading the pack is the growing anti-police protests and sentiments that rocked the nation following the death of George Floyd. This caused a reduction in policing. Secondarily, politicians responded to the coronavirus pandemic by shutting down much of the country for months. Putting millions of people out of work and locking them down may have saved lives from illness, but it caused or contributed to a lot of other deaths, including drug overdoses and homicides.

Interestingly, “The change in murder was widespread — a national phenomenon and not a regional one,” The New York Times reports. “Murder rose over 35 percent in cities with populations over 250,000 that reported full data. It also rose over 40 percent in cities 100,000 to 250,000, and around 25 percent in cities under 25,000.”

Meanwhile, the overall 2020 crime rate actually fell by roughly 5%, though this can be attributed to the fact that so many businesses were closed down for months last year. Theft was down, likely because it’s more difficult to shoplift when stores aren’t open.

Lack of policing still remains the single biggest factor for the spike in violent crime. Not only have police departments pulled back on more proactive policing, but many departments have been experiencing high officer departure numbers due to both retirement and poor officer morale. It’s not just reduction of departments, either. Academies are having a tough time finding recruits.

When significant segments of society are taught to hate police and told they are victims of a system that is intentionally designed to keep them down, and when leftist politicians call for defunding the police and blame the enforcement of law rather than criminals committing crimes, the negative effect such messaging and politically motivated actions have upon society should come as a surprise to no one.

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