Sep 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Murders up nearly 30% nationwide in 2020

Officer emerges from a taped off crime scene

Photo: Dylan Bouscher/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images

In 2020, the U.S. experienced its biggest increase in murders since it began keeping a record in 1960, according to reporting by the New York Times.

Why it matters: Reasons for the spike may vary, however, analysts point to heightened pandemic-induced stresses, higher rates of domestic violence and increased distrust of law enforcement, per the Times.

The big picture: The new data was gathered for the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report, which will be published next Monday.

  • Murders nationwide rose by about 29% in 2020, eclipsing the previous largest one-year change in murder, a 12.7% increase in 1968, per the Times.
  • However, the national murder rate remains one-third below its levels in the early 1990s, when it peaked at 9.8 murders per 100,000 people.
  • 2020 also marked the highest ever rate of murders committed with a firearm, at 77%.

Of note: While data indicate that murders continue to rise in 2021, the rate of increase is lower. However, the picture for 2021 is obscured by a lack of data, the Times noted.

  • The rate of violent crime rose by about 5% in 2020, meanwhile, other major crimes dipped last year.
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