Aug 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

NYT: Murder rates across 20 U.S. cities spiked from May to June

Chicago murder scene
Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

The murder rate across 20 major U.S. cities at the end of June was 37% higher on average than in late May, the New York Times reports, citing a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The big picture: Massive unemployment, backlogs in the courts and limited access to social services caused by COVID-19 lockdowns contributed to the spike in violence.

  • Crime overall is down in many cities, "except murder, aggravated assault and in some places, car theft," the Times notes.

By the numbers: Homicide and violent crime are up in several cities across the country.

  • Kansas City has reported 122 homicides for the year as of Tuesday, per the city's police department. Last year, the city reported 148 homicides for the entire year.
  • Chicago's police department has recorded at least 450 murders so far this year, compared to 291 for all of 2019.
  • New York City saw a 130% increase in shooting incidents from June 1 to June 30, per the NYPD.
  • In Detroit, 273 homicides were committed last year, per the police department. At least 450 homicides have been logged this year, per the city's police department data.
  • Milwaukee has seen a 24% year-to-date increase in homicides from this time last year.

What they're saying: “I’m sure there will be academic studies for years to come as to what caused the spike of 2020,” Tim Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, told the Times. “I’m sure the lockdown didn’t help. When you already have a stressed economic situation and you put a lot of folks out of work, and a lot of teenagers out of school, it’s a volatile situation.”

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