Central Oregon DailyReport points to homicide rate declines in US cities after pandemic-era spike

Report points to homicide rate declines in US cities after pandemic-era spike

Report points to homicide rate declines in US cities after pandemic-era spike

Report points to homicide rate declines in US cities after pandemic-era spike

WASHINGTON (AP) 鈥 Homicides are declining in a cross-section of American cities, though their numbers remain higher than before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, according to a new report analyzing data from 30 U.S. cities.

Homicides on average dropped 9.4% during the first half of 2023 as compared to the same period last year, the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice found in聽a report released聽this week.

The numbers remained about 24% higher than they were in 2019, and聽motor vehicle thefts聽were up sharply in the analyzed cities.

鈥淲e鈥檙e seeing a continuing decline in homicides, but most cities are not back to levels that prevailed prior to the pandemic,鈥 said Richard Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and co-author of the report.

The report is based on crime data posed online by police departments in 37 cities of varying sizes around the country. Several of the nation鈥檚 largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are represented, but researchers didn鈥檛 have immediate access to data for others, like Houston and San Diego. Of the cities that did post crime data online, 30 included homicide numbers and 20 of those showed declines.

While the analysis doesn鈥檛 capture the entire country, it鈥檚 another piece of evidence that U.S. crime rates overall are trending downward after a historic jump during the pandemic, said Jeff Asher, a crime analyst and consultant at AH Datalytics who wasn鈥檛 involved in producing the report. He maintains a crime database of murder rates in about 100 cities and has made similar findings.

鈥淚t鈥檚 been a widespread decline. It鈥檚 not everywhere, but it鈥檚 been widespread enough that it鈥檚 not simple randomness,鈥 he said.

The homicide declines come after an聽increase in 2020聽of 29%, according to FBI data. It was largest one-year jump since the agency鈥檚 record-keeping began, though still below historic highs of the 1990s.

That increase came during the COVID-19 pandemic, which created huge social disruption and upended support systems. The rise in crime defied easy explanation, though experts pointed to several possible factors, including unprecedented pressures of the pandemic on both citizens and the police, gun violence, social unrest after high-profile incidents of police violence and deep economic turmoil.

FBI crime data, typically the country鈥檚 most comprehensive, has pointed to violent crime rates聽beginning to level out in 2021,聽but the agency鈥檚 most recent data was incomplete. Nearly 40% of agencies, including big cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami, didn鈥檛 send in their data for 2021 due to an overhaul in the FBI reporting system.

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