As the United States struggles to contain the corona virus pandemic and attendant economic disruption, another problem may be looming-murder rates have increased in many of America’s largest cities.
Rates of homicide and gun assault began to increase according to data from the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice, and while the murder rate is still low compared with previous decades, the evidence is clear, the situation is worsening. A survey of 223 police agencies, including every big city, shows a stunning rise in killings and shootings, and police say the pandemic has damaged their ability to fight crime.
Greensboro Police Chief Brian James said in an interview, “We’ve always had a level of gang activity, but it’s more prolific now. I’m not sure what’s changed, but the offenders are more bold than they’ve ever been.” PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler said, “We haven’t seen numbers like this since the ’90s. We’ve had 20 years of steady declines in crime. Is this just an aberration, or does this portend something for the future? This has been under the radar because of the pandemic, but something’s happening across the country in the most serious crimes. The next administration, they’re going to have to pay serious attention to this.”