Crime Data Shows Strange Results for 2020

A rise in homicide cases has hit many large cities across America during the COVID-19 pandemic. With less people outside, and more people in their homes, one might assume that both murders and violent crimes would have decreased tremendously. While violent crimes have declined, murders have surged  across popular cities in the U.S.

Police Department and F.B.I Murder Reports Across the United States

According to police department and media reports, cities including Chicago, Philadelphia, Oakland, Calif., Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, New Orleans, and Jacksonville, Fla. have at least 50% more murders this year than last year. The F.B.I. reports of murder can sometimes be innaccurate and outdated. Many F.B.I murder report cases go missing, or the cases are deemed as unknown. According to a New York Times article, the F.B.I. doesn’t supply recent crime statistics, so they collected a Uniform Crime Report (U.C.R.) for each city that has over 250,000 people. The collected crime data in these reports  are divided into murder, aggravated assault, rape, robbery,  and property crime. To combat any outdated information,David Abrams, a University of Pennsylvania economics and law professor, created a website that displays and analyzes up-to-date crime and murders within more than 25 large cities. The site even provides an option to compare and contrast how different types of crimes were affected by COVID-19.

Gun Violence Rises Amid COVID-19 In The U.S.

Depending on the state and city, many stay at home orders were issued to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the United States around March or April. Since then, there has been a correlating increase in gun purchases to first time owners. Many believe that less gun enthusiasts and more first timers are buying guns due to protection from protests and COVID-19; since March, some 3 million more guns have been purchased than the average observed amount of gun purchases. . Nearly half of those sales are to first-time gun owners, NPR correspondent Chris Arnold reported. On March 28, the Department of Homeland Security officially considered gun stores an essential business during the coronavirus shutdown and issued each state an advisory.

Shootings Across Washington, D.C.

There have also been several shootings in addition to an increase of coronavirus cases in Washington D.C. There was a weekend block party that eventually led into a mass shooting that left a teenager dead and 20 others injured in Southeast; there was also a Shooting of Deon Kay, 18, during a protest. Fortunately, there are several non-profit organizations that are all determined to end gun violence and live in a safe environment. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is dedicated to creating solutions to reduce gun injury and death in all its forms and is located in Washington, D.C. The Brady United is also a non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C. that has a comprehensive approach to preventing gun violence. Brady is determined to deliver life-saving change one law at a time.

How Are Prisoners Coping With The COVID-19 Pandemic Safely?

As murders and violent crime rates increase, so do the rates of mass incarceration. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the close quarters of confinement create new unsanitary conditions for those who have become incarcerated.  According to the Center of Infectious Disease Research Policy, “A total of 42,107 of 1,295,285 prisoners [have] been infected with the novel coronavirus, for a case rate of 3.25%, versus 0.59% in the general US population.””. Since March, the Marshall Project has been tracking the wild spread of coronavirus in prisons and have been updating their findings and statistics weekly. According to their site, there have been at least 115,106 cases of coronavirus reported among prisoners. While 87,115 prisoners have since recovered, the virus has been significantly affecting correctional facilities all across the United States.

Why is there an increase in Homicides?

There has been a recent increase in homicides due to several reasons. While this may seem like an abrupt increase, these are  murders that would have likely happened during the months of March, April, and May during the mandatory stay-at-home orders. Seasonal impacts also play a huge role when calculating murder cases. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, information from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) examined each season and showed that crimes tended to be higher in the summer than during other seasons of the year.  Additionally, many crimes have increased due to several changes in police activity amongst the concurrent social justice protests, and many communities have tended to pull away from law enforcement. On the other hand, the same is true for those employed by law enforcement; according to ABC News, The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Union issued a press release which stated that  71% of the members it surveyed are considering leaving MPD. Of those, almost 40% are planning to leave the law enforcement. Some other noteworthy potential causes for a rise in criminal activity are mental health disruptions due to the current trying times, as well as  poverty, parental low self-esteem, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse.

Coming Together During Tragic Times

2020 has been filled with tons of unexpected information and shocking events. While one may have expected a decrease in crime and murder rates due to stay-at-home orders, research has observed subsequent spikes. During these difficult and crazy times, it is best to come together as a community and work positively. The community as a whole must cooperate to enforce pandemic social distancing guidelines and safety from all forms of violence.

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