New data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that the United States experienced a record-high one-year increase in the number of murders in 2020. In 2020, 4,901 more murders were committed than in the previous year, and the data shows that the increased homicide rate coincided with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the overall crime rate actually decreased between 2019 and 2020. Numbers for 2021 are not yet available, as they are reported annually in September.
In 1990, New York City and Los Angeles accounted for about 13.8 percent of homicides, while in 2020, they only accounted for about 3.8 percent. Meanwhile, cities like Albuquerque, Memphis, Milwaukee, Tulsa, and Des Moines saw their highest number of murders ever, says the report. Experts say the pandemic likely had an effect on the increase. “People are desperate, and they don’t have a lot of options, so they turn toward violence as a way to solve things,” said Enrique Cardiel, an Albuquerque-based community organizer and public health worker.