US records highest increase in nation’s homicide rate in modern history, CDC says

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Provisional data from CDC National Center for Health Statistics, released early Wednesday, suggest the murder rate for the United States rose 30% between 2019 and 2020. This is the highest increase recorded in modern history – and confirms the increase in homicides that had so far only been identified through public health data. crime statistics.

According to the NCHS, the previous largest increase in the US homicide rate from 2000 to 2001 was a 20% increase in the number due to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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“This is the biggest increase in 100 years,” said Robert Anderson, head of the Mortality Statistics Branch at the NCHS.

“Since we are recording these figures, the only major increase occurred between 1904 and 1905, and this increase was most likely – at least partly – the result of better reporting,” Anderson told Granthshala. “We had states being added to what we referred to as death registration zones, so we were counting deaths in more areas over time. We didn’t have all states reporting until 1933.”


According to the NCHS, new data shows the US homicide rate rose from about six homicides per 100,000 people in 2019 to 7.8 per 100,000 in 2020. The center’s researchers noted that the 2020 murder rate of 7.8 is the highest recorded in the United States since 1995, but is still significantly lower than rates in the early 1980s, which per 100, Tops 10 murders per 000 people.

“So, it’s obviously a matter of concern but we’re not at the level we were at at the time,” Anderson said. “However, we are definitely going in the wrong direction.”

While the initial release of NCHS preliminary figures did not provide a total number of homicides since 2020, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report recorded a total of 21,570 homicides last year – compared to an estimated 16,425 murders in 2019.
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The NCHS researchers plan to conduct a follow-up analysis on the new homicide figures to learn more about state-level data and homicides. For example, provisional data do not document the different mechanisms of homicide, but the researchers note that provisional data on gun-related deaths also increased last year, from a rate of 11.9 firearm deaths per 100,000 in 2019 to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2020. became 100,000. – 14% increase.

When it comes to state-by-state differences in the data, Anderson said homicides have decreased in only three states in the past year: Maine, New Mexico and Alaska.

“They are really the only states where we saw a decline,” Anderson said.

Despite Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, 2020 sees an increase in murders across the US

Overall, the provisional murder figures are in line with differing findings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Last month, the FBI released its annual uniform crime report For 2020, it shows that the number of homicides has increased by almost 30% since 2019, the largest single-year increase recorded since the agency began tracking these crimes in the 1960s. is of.

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told Granthshala that the US murder rate poses an alarming threat to the nation’s public health – but not surprising.

He said the increase in homicides paralleled the recent increase in overall violence, hatred, tension, political division and anger displayed in communities across the country.

“We are literally seeing it before our eyes – at school board meetings and public events,” Benjamin said.

“It’s like people have lost all civility, and then you couple that staying home, and being stressed out by it, losing your job, losing resources, fearing for your health, and more guns,” he said. “I think we need to figure out how we free our society from conflict.”

Earlier this year, criminology experts told Granthshala that the increase in murders was due to a number of factors. The pandemic caused schools and businesses to close, leading to increased unemployment. This meant that children and unemployed adults were stuck at home, causing skyrocketing stress and anxiety levels, especially in low-income households.

The pandemic also changed the way police officers worked – due to illness and social distancing – leading to fewer officers on the streets in the areas that needed crime prevention the most.

“I think Covid was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Eddie Boccanegra, senior director of Ready Chicago, a program that helps those most affected by gun violence, said in January.

“It’s almost like these communities were keeping their heads above the water,” Boccanegra said, “and then Covid hit and they just drowned.”


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