Mon, Nov 22, 2021 3:16 PM
By Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square, The Center Square
The U.S. murder rate is at its highest level in nearly two and half decades. There were 21,570 murders nationwide in 2020, up nearly 30% from the previous year -- the largest annual increase on record.
The rash of deadly violence came during a tumultuous year in American history. The COVID-19 pandemic led to school closures and left millions of Americans out of work. The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer rattled confidence in American law enforcement and sparked nationwide protests. Firearm sales soared, resulting in the proliferation of tens of millions of new guns. Here is a look at the states where gun sales are surging.
Some experts speculate that each of these factors likely played a role in the rising homicide rate. While it may be years before the precise causal factors are identified, the effects are being felt in communities across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists homicide as a contributing factor in the historic 1.5-year decline in life expectancy in the U.S. last year -- trailing only COVID-19 and accidental deaths, like drug overdoses, in significance.
Cleveland, Ohio, is among the U.S. cities with the highest homicide rates. There were a total of 160 murders reported in the city in 2020, or 42.2 for every 100,000 people -- well above the national homicide rate of 6.5 murders per 100,000.
Even though homicide is the least common form of criminal violence -- accounting for less than 2% of all violent crimes -- places with high homicide rates also often have high overall violent crime rates, and Cleveland is no exception. There were 1,657 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in Cleveland in 2020, compared to 399 incidents per 100,000 nationwide.
All data used in this story is from the FBI's 2020 Uniform Crime Report. Only places with populations above 25,000 based on five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey were considered. Limited data was available in the 2020 UCR for areas in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, though these places were not excluded from analysis.
RankCityMurders per 100,000 people, 2020Total murders, 2020Violent crimes per 100,000 people, 20201St. Louis, MO88.12632,0162Petersburg, VA76.9246323Pine Bluff, AR56.5231,8324New Orleans, LA51.02011,3245Saginaw, MI50.2242,1546Detroit, MI49.73282,1797Trenton, NJ48.2401,1698Harrisburg, PA46.7238579Baton Rouge, LA46.510295210Flint, MI46.4441,05011Riviera Beach, FL44.7161,19612Memphis, TN44.42892,35213Wilmington, DE44.2311,59114Cleveland, OH42.21601,65715Alexandria, LA41.3191,84816Monroe, LA40.3192,96917Shreveport, LA37.26992318Portsmouth, VA36.13492019Kansas City, MO35.21761,58620Dayton, OH32.8461,08621Milwaukee, WI32.41911,59722North Charleston, SC32.3381,14523San Bernardino, CA31.4681,40224Florence, SC31.1121,45625Kankakee, IL30.9894326Cincinnati, OH30.29289327North Little Rock, AR30.2201,00328Chicago, IL28.677198729Jacksonville, AR28.481,15930Richmond, VA28.36634931Washington, D.C.27.819895832South Bend, IN27.4281,72833Danville, IL26.581,67234Albany, GA26.5191,72435Douglasville, GA26.2956736Warren, OH26.01045037Sumter, SC25.3101,24238Hallandale Beach, FL24.91049839Little Rock, AR24.8491,85040Dania Beach, FL24.6862441Indianapolis, IN24.321687142Rocky Mount, NC24.3131,14943Hazelwood, MO24.0665544Atlantic City, NJ24.0982345Buffalo, NY24.0611,01846Charleston, WV23.91192147Akron, OH23.84791048Rochester, NY23.44881949Dover, DE23.4985650Oakland, CA23.31021,291