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A police officer outside of a home in Farmingville, New York, in July 2021. Photo: Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

The estimated number of violent crimes in the United States rose for the first time in four years in 2020, according to statistics released by the FBI on Monday.

Why it matters: Legal experts told Axios' Russell Contreras that social-economic changes, like increases in unemployment, set off by the coronavirus pandemic likely contributed to the violent crime spike.

  • The data is based on reports from 15,897 federal, state, county, city, university and college and tribal agencies that participated in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program that year.
  • Because some law enforcement agencies did not participate in the program, the statistics should be considered estimates.

By the numbers: There were an estimated 1,277,696 violent crimes and 6,452,038 property crimes in 2020.

  • The estimated rate of violent crime — such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — was 387.8 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, a 5.6% increase from 2019's rate.
  • The projected number of aggravated assaults increased by 12.1%, and murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses increased by 29.4%. That’s the highest single-year spike in killings in at least six decades.
  • The rate of property crimes like burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson was around 1,958.2 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, an 8.1% decline from 2019.
  • Victims of property crimes suffered losses estimated at $17.5 billion last year, excluding losses from arsons.

Yes, but: The rate of some violent crimes, like murder, remains far lower than rates recorded throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

  • It's also currently unknown if the spike has continued into this year, though homicides were trending at higher-than-normal levels in multiple cities at the start of the summer.

The big picture: Democrats fear the rise in violent crime could damage their party's performance in the 2022 midterms as Republicans tie the increase to progressive calls to "defund the police" in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

Go deeper: FBI report shows hate crimes at highest level in 12 years

Go deeper

Penn researchers score $10M grant to study racial health disparities

Photo courtesy of Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia researchers scored a nearly $10 million federal grant to study how investments in predominantly Black neighborhoods in the city can affect racial health disparities and violent crime.

Why it matters: Philly's poverty rate — currently at 23% — has remained high for decades. And Black residents experience poverty at far higher rates than their white counterparts, according to 2019 U.S. Census data.

  • A recent study found that investing in repairs for even a single house on a Philadelphia block reduced crime on that block by nearly 22%.
28 mins ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro,age 13, is inoculated by Nurse Karen Pagliaro at Hartford Healthcares mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies to administer the shots.

36 mins ago - Sports

Where it stands: Weed policies by U.S. sports league

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With public support for marijuana legalization nearing unanimity, and more athletes using cannabis to treat pain, the four major U.S. sports leagues continue to reduce restrictions and punishments.

Driving the news: NBA players won't be subject to random marijuana testing this season, an extension of an agreement between the league and its players' union that began ahead of the 2020 Orlando restart.