At least 12 major U.S. cities have broken annual homicide records in 2021 — and there’s still three weeks to go in the year.
Of the dozen cities that have already surpassed the grim milestones for killings, five topped records that were set or tied just last year.
“It’s terrible to every morning get up and have to go look at the numbers and then look at the news and see the stories. It’s just crazy. It’s just crazy and this needs to stop,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said after his city surpassed its annual homicide record of 500, which stood since 1990.
The 12 cities:
Portland, Tucson, Albuquerque, Austin, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, Indianapolis, Louisville, Toledo, Columbus, Philly and Rochester.
Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, leads the nation with 739 homicides as of the end of November, up 3% from 2020, according to Chicago Police Department crime data. Chicago’s deadliest year remains 1970 when there were 974 homicides.
Philadelphia’s homicide record was broken in the same week that Columbus, Indianapolis and Louisville eclipsed records for slayings.
Experts say there are a number of reasons possibly connected to the jump in homicides, including strained law enforcement staffing, a pronounced decline in arrests and continuing hardships from the pandemic, but that there is no clear answer across the board.
And why would law enforcement be “strained”? Because police are quitting in droves.
Why has there been a “pronounced decline in arrests”? Because the Democratic party wants it that way.
To ABC News’ credit, they do actually report on this stuff:
Robert Boyce, retired chief of detectives for the New York Police Department and an ABC News contributor, said that while there is no single reason for the jump in slayings, one national crime statistic stands out to him.
“Nobody’s getting arrested anymore,” Boyce said. “People are getting picked up for gun possession and they’re just let out over and over again.”
The FBI crime data shows that the number of arrests nationwide plummeted 24% in 2020, from the more than 10 million arrests made in 2019. The number of 2020 arrests — 7.63 million — is the lowest in 25 years, according to the data. FBI crime data is not yet available for 2021.
Christopher Herrmann, an assistant professor in the Department of Law & Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said the decrease in arrests could be attributed to the large number of police officers who retired or resigned in 2020 and 2021.
A workforce survey released in June by the Police Executive Research Forum found the retirement rate in police departments nationwide jumped 45% over 2020 and 2021. And another 18% of officers resigned, the survey found, a development which coincided with nationwide social justice protests and calls to defund law enforcement agencies following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
On average, the survey found that law enforcement agencies are currently filling only 93% of the authorized number of positions available and Herrmann said many departments have been hampered in hiring because of an inability to get large classes into police academies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think, unfortunately, police departments are just losing a lot of their best and experienced officers and then because of the economic crisis, because of COVID, are having difficulties in hiring or just delays in hirings,” Herrmann said.
I think, and this is just a theory, that perhaps a fully staffed and unconstrained police force is a deterrent to crime.
However, this is unconfirmed, and we will need Big Pharma to convene numerous randomized control trials, which will then all have to be peer-reviewed, and then subsequently evaluated in a meta-analysis, before we can confidently say for sure.