At least 11 major American cities have already recorded their first murders of the new year.
This comes after an increase in murders during the pandemic year of 2020.
New York had a total of 447 murders in 2020, a 41 per cent increase from 2019 and the largest total since 2011, New York Magazine wrote.
2020 is the third year in a row with a rising murder rate. More than twice as many people were shot in 2020 in New York compared to 2019, The Daily Mail wrote. 1,855 people were shot in 2020, 914 suffered the same fate in 2019.
“The confluence of COVID into the protests into all of the debate about defunding the police, I can’t imagine a darker period,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, according to ABC7 New York.
The cause of this is unclear, but some experts have explained the rise in violent crime by mentioning this summer’s racial justice protests in relation to the death of George Floyd, which could have caused a rise in distrust of police and a drawback from the police, worried that they might step over the line. Yet another possibility is the large increase in the purchase of firearms, as Vox reported.
While murders were up in the first half of 2020, overall crime and violent crime as a whole was actually down in the cities analyzed by Mr Asher.
It’s possible that in such an unusual year that other kinds of crimes have also risen, but they’re simply going unreported. It’s also possible that with hospitals being overwhelmed during the Covid-19 pandemic, violent crime became deadlier as hospitals couldn’t deal with all the people hospitalized because of violence.
These are all possible explanations, but more data and more time to analyze that data is required for more concrete conclusions.