Murder in the United States underwent a surprising surge in 2020. According to the FBI, there were 21,570 murders nationwide that year, a 29% increase from 2019. This is the largest single-year increase ever reported in the United States.
Though the precise reasons for the surge have yet to be determined, experts speculate that unrest following the murder of George Floyd, along with social and economic upheaval wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, likely played a role. Gun sales also surged in 2020, and firearms were used in 77% of murder cases, up from 73% in 2019. Here is a look at the states where gun sales are surging.
Whatever the explanation, murder is now at its highest level in the U.S. since the mid-1990s. Nearly every state followed the national trend and reported an increase in deadly violence in 2020.
Using data from the FBI, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states where the murder rate is soaring. States are ranked by the year-over-year change in the number of murders per 100,000 people. Depending on the state, the changes range from a decline of 2.7 murders per 100,000 people to a surge of 4.1 per 100,000. For context, the U.S. murder rate climbed by 1.5 incidents per 100,000 in 2020.
Murder – along with rаpe, robbery, and aggravated assault – is one component of the overall violent crime category. Even though murder accounts for a small percentage of all violent crimes, most states also reported an increase in violent crime overall in 2020. Here is a look at the states where crime is soaring.
A disproportionate share of states that reported the largest increases in homicide are in the South, and nine of the 10 states with the largest increases have a higher overall homicide rate than the national rate of 6.5 murders per 100,000 people.
Click here to see the states where murder rate is soaring
Click here to read our detailed methodology
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