Homicides rose by 30% in 2020 - the largest increase ever recorded

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The US saw the biggest rise in murders last year since national records began in 1960, according to preliminary data from the FBI. 

The US murder rate rose by an unprecedented 30 percent in 2020, according to the FBI’s preliminary Uniform Crime Report. 

Last year there were 6.55 murders per 100,000 people in the US, compared to just 5.0 murders per 100,000 in 2019, the FBI reported.

The previous biggest increase was in 1968, when homicides rose 12.7 percent in a year.   

 But the actual number of murders per capita remains well below the peak recorded in the 1980s and early 90s. 

The 2020 murder rate is around a third less than the peak of 10.2 murders per 100,000 in 1980. 

The finalized data about homicides in the US is set to be released by the FBI on Monday, but preliminary numbers appeared on the bureau’s website on Wednesday, the New York Times reports. 

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The FBI said the official report could include slightly updated numbers, but the main conclusions are unlikely to change.  

Alongside the increase in murders, violent crime also increased by around five percent, the Times reports.

But overall major crime fell by between four and five percent – the 18th straight year of declining overall crime, the FBI numbers revealed. 

Gun violence was a contributing factor to the murder surge.

Around 77 percent of 2020’s murders were gun-related – the highest share ever reported – according to the Times.

A decline in the number of cops could also have added to the 2020 murder surge, police chiefs have said. 

Former Baltimore Police Department Deputy Commissioner Jason Johnson argued in April that the decrease in police officers is the root cause. 

‘Policing is to blame, or rather the lack of it,’ he wrote in a USA Today opinion piece. 

He cited that New York City logged fewer than 45,000 arrests (down 38 per cent) from June to December last year, resulting in more than 100 additional homicides – a 58 per cent increase. 

Similar results popped up in Chicago, where police made 31,000 fewer arrests (53 per cent decrease), resulting in murder rising to 65 per cent. 

The Midwest saw the highest increase in murders at almost 31 per cent increase, according to Vox. 

The South recorded the lowest increase at 20.8, despite Louisiana reporting the highest number of homicides for the past 32 years.  

Murder rose 35 per cent in cities with populations more than 250,000 and 40 per cent in cities fewer than 250,000, according to The New York Times

With lower arrest averages, comes higher gun percentages on the streets. 

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Gun violence killed nearly 20,000 people in the US, according to the Washington Post, resulting in the highest number of deaths by guns in the last two decades. 

In 2020, 23million Americans purchased a gun, up 64 per cent from 2019. 

About 77 per cent of reported murders were committed with a firearm in 2020, up 10 per cent from a decade ago, according to The New York Times.  

The number of children killed by gunshot also would rose over 50 per cent since 2019, making it the highest percentage ever recorded. Nearly 300 children died and 5,000 suffered gunshot wounds, according to the Washington Post.   

Chicago suffered the highest number of children injured by gunshot, with more being shot than those have who gotten COVID-19. 

A total of 214 children, under the age of 17, have died from the virus while a total of 261 have been shot in the liberal city this year alone, according to data from police and the Center for Disease Control. Of those 261 minors who were shot, 41 were fatally wounded.

Although COVID-19 cases among children spiked over the summer, the death rates in the demographic remain low, accounting for just 0-0.27 percent of pandemic fatalities nationwide.

That equals out to six minor deaths in every 100,000 people under 18 in the state.

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