Many Americans probably aren't surprised to learn that 2020 was one of the most violent years in recent memory, a solid break with the decades-long trend of lower national crime rates (with certain stubborn exceptions among bombed out rust-belt cities...and Baltimore). In addition to BLM marches across the nation that enabled waves of looting, along with more than a dozen killed, 2020 was, generally speaking, a year of unrest as millions of Americans, trapped inside their own homes, lashed out.
A wave of headlines warning about the spike in crime has now been confirmed: US murder rates saw a "historic" increase in 2020 vs. 2019, with more than 1.2K additional killings year-over-year in a sample of 34 American cities, the biggest being NYC, the smallest being Norfolk, Va.
Keep in mind, this isn't the official FBI report on crime data, which will no doubt include a fair bit of "massaging", as government reports like these often do. The report, cited by Fox News and others, was published by the National Commission of COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ), a non-profit group created in July of last year that includes former AG Loretta Lynch as a co-chair.
"The coronavirus pandemic, continuing incidents of police violence, and rising homicide and violent crime rates each pose massive policy challenges in their own right, but the interplay between them creates even more difficult decisions for policymakers," the report said. "Despite this difficulty, leaders at all levels of government should take bold action in responding to all three crises."
According to an analysis of crime data collected from the cities noted above, homicide rates jumped by 30% from 2019 to 2020, while gun assault and aggravated assault rates climbed 8% and 6%, respectively.
And while crime typically follows a seasonal cycle, with murder rates rising in the summer, and falling in the winter, last year, crime was up during every month compared with the year prior.
"Homicide rates were higher during every month of 2020 relative to rates from the previous year." The report described the annual 30% surge as "a large and troubling increase that has no modern precedent."
In addition to the three main violent crimes listed above - murder, gun assault and aggravated assault - the report also included rates of domestic violence, which were said to be up last year as people were confined to their homes. While rates of violent crime increased, the report also found
Other crimes, like motor vehicle thefts, also rose year over year, while some crimes - like drug offenses, larcencies nonresidential burglaries and residential burglaries, all decline (largely a factor of people being in their homes more frequently, along with a pullback on certain "quality of life" crimes like drug offenses in the wake of the BLM movement).
Looking ahead, crime analysts suspect that rates of the most violent crimes could rise, as some murders are "temporarily suppressed" due to limited "opportunities for offenders and victims to interact." But as COVID-19 rates finally start to fall after the deadliest month for the virus on record, will the reopening trigger a surge in violence?
Or, maybe, the powers that be can use the threat of unrest as just one more excuse to keep restrictions in place for longer, generating massive profits for American megacorps while small businesses starve.