By ALYSSA GUZMAN title via Revolver
The US saw the biggest rise in murders last year since national records began in 1960, according to preliminary data from the FBI.
The US murder rate rose by an unprecedented 30 percent in 2020, according to the FBI’s preliminary Uniform Crime Report.
Last year there were 6.55 murders per 100,000 people in the US, compared to just 5.0 murders per 100,000 in 2019, the FBI reported.
The previous biggest increase was in 1968, when homicides rose 12.7 percent in a year.
But the actual number of murders per capita remains well below the peak recorded in the 1980s and early 90s.
The 2020 murder rate is around a third less than the peak of 10.2 murders per 100,000 in 1980.
The finalized data about homicides in the US is set to be released by the FBI on Monday, but preliminary numbers appeared on the bureau’s website on Wednesday, the New York Times reports.
The FBI said the official report could include slightly updated numbers, but the main conclusions are unlikely to change.
Alongside the increase in murders, violent crime also increased by around five percent, the Times reports.
But overall major crime fell by between four and five percent – the 18th straight year of declining overall crime, the FBI numbers revealed.
Gun violence was a contributing factor to the murder surge.
Around 77 percent of 2020’s murders were gun-related – the highest share ever reported – according to the Times.
A decline in the number of cops could also have added to the 2020 murder surge, police chiefs have said.
Former Baltimore Police Department Deputy Commissioner Jason Johnson argued in April that the decrease in police officers is the root cause.
‘Policing is to blame, or rather the lack of it,’ he wrote in a USA Today opinion piece.
He cited that New York City logged fewer than 45,000 arrests (down 38 per cent) from June to December last year, resulting in more than 100 additional homicides – a 58 per cent increase.