The United States recorded a historic surge in homicides in 2020. According to the FBI, there were 21,570 murders nationwide in 2020, a 29% increase from 2019 – 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 – and some cities are bearing the brunt of rising levels of deadly violence.
Using data from the FBI, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 cities where the murder rate is rising fastest. Cities, defined as having populations greater than 25,000, are ranked by the year-over-year change in the number of murders per 100,000 people. In every city on this list, the increase the murder rate was at least seven times the national uptick of 1.5 homicides per 100,000 in 2020.
The largest share of cities that reported the largest increases in homicide are in the South. Every city on this list has a higher overall homicide rate than the national rate of 6.5 murders per 100,000 people – though 20 of them had a lower than average murder rate in 2019, including several in which no murders were reported that year.
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 cities on this list also reported an increase in the overall violent crime rate in 2020. Here is a look at the states where crime is soaring.
Click here to see the cities where murder rate is soaring
Click here to read our detailed methodology
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