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FBI Reports Most Murders in Decades; Police Point to George Floyd Fallout

While some crimes diminished in the unusual, COVID-shutdown year, homicides rose nearly 30% and aggravated assaults rose more than 12% in one year, the first time in four years that violent crime increased from the previous year.

(The Center Square) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation released crime data Monday showing a sharp spike in homicides in 2020.

“In 2020, there were an estimated 1,277,696 violent crimes,” the FBI said. “When compared with the estimates from 2019, the estimated number of robbery offenses fell 9.3 percent and the estimated volume of rape (revised definition) offenses decreased 12.0 percent. The estimated number of aggravated assault offenses rose 12.1 percent, and the volume of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses increased 29.4 percent.”

There were about 21,500 murders reported in 2020, the highest figure in decades.

“The 2020 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 387.8 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the estimated rate of property crime was 1,958.2 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants,” the FBI said. “Nationwide, there were an estimated 6,452,038 property crimes. The estimated numbers for two of the three property crimes showed declines when compared with the previous year’s estimates. Burglaries dropped 7.4 percent, larceny-thefts decreased 10.6 percent, while motor vehicle thefts rose 11.8 percent.”

Violent crime rose more than 5% in 2020 while property crimes dropped nearly 8%, continuing an 18-year downward trend of property crimes.

Police experts have tied the increase in violent crime to the reduction in police forces and rioting in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody.

U.S. residents lost an estimated $17.5 billion to property crimes last year, not including arson damage.

“Black and Brown communities are the real victims of these policies. Their lives are being lost and continue to be put in jeopardy,” he added.

“The sharp increase in murder that began with the riots and lawlessness of last summer come as no surprise,” said Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. “Seeing this troubling number now officially recorded for history gives us a fresh opportunity to examine the root political and cultural causes for this historic rise in unnecessary loss of life. We can begin by acknowledging the fact that police and enforcement of the rule of law, with accountability for lawbreakers, are essential to protect our most vulnerable communities.”

Casey Harper | The Center Square
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