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.”

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Sep 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

America's cities are facing an immigration deficit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's cities are facing a historic shortage of two vital resources: money and immigrants.

Why it matters: Cities drive American economic growth, and immigrants drive cities. The coronavirus pandemic has effectively stanched the main source of talent that municipal economies have long relied upon.

NYC mayor to furlough employees for a week, including himself

Bill de Blasio attends the 9/11 Memorial & Museum on Sept. 11. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that all employees in his office, including himself, will be subject to a one-week furlough sometime between October and March.

The big picture: The pandemic is on pace to hit cities' finances even harder than the Great Recession. Many face no choice but to cut services, layoff or furlough workers and freeze capital projects.

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!