Apr 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Number of homicides plummets in major U.S. cities

Data: AH Datalytics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of homicides in major American cities is falling at its quickest pace in decades following huge jumps during the pandemic.

Why it matters: The nation is on track to see one of the lowest levels of violent crimes and homicides since President Obama was in office.

  • Polls show crime is a top concern ahead of the 2024 election — and it's an issue where Republicans regularly edge Democrats.
  • But falling homicide rates could take the steam out of the crucial GOP advantage.

By the numbers: Murders declined by nearly 20% in 204 cities during the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, according to AH Datalytics, a criminal justice consulting firm.

  • At this pace, the murder rate in the U.S. could match its level in 2014 when many cities saw 30-year lows in violent crime and homicides.
  • The big decline in homicides, as calculated by AH Datalytics, was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Zoom in: Boston has seen a massive 82% drop in homicides so far, the most of any major city in the analysis.

  • Philadelphia currently is experiencing a 37% decline in murders and Miami is seeing a 33% fall.
  • Houston, where crime was an issue in last year's mayoral election, is facing a 25% drop in homicides thus far.

Reality check: Los Angeles and Atlanta saw noticeable jumps in homicides in the first three months of 2024 compared to last year.

  • Los Angeles is experiencing a more than 9% spike in murders, while Atlanta is seeing a 15% surge.
  • St. Louis, Savannah, Georgia, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, also are seeing murder pace increases.

Between the lines: Former President Trump is using the fear of crime on the campaign trail and has relentlessly focused on "migrant crime" as illegal border crossings hit record highs.

  • Trump titled a Michigan campaign event "Biden's Border Bloodbath" earlier this month and warned that the country will "cease to exist" if he doesn't win in November.

Zoom out: FBI data and numbers from police agencies show that crime has been steadily declining since 2022.

  • AH Datalytics calculated its data using the latest available crime numbers from local and state sources.

The intrigue: Democrats are also seeing signs that they are closing the gap with the GOP among voters who say which party is better at fighting crime.

  • An Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll conducted in partnership with Noticias Telemundo and released this month found that Republicans had only a 4-point edge on which party was better at dealing with crime.
  • Previous polls had them leading Democrats by double digits.

Editor's note: The chart headline has been corrected to note that it is a selection of major cities, not the most populous cities.

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