Gun Deaths Rose 6% Since March 1

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Illustration by Kostya Vacuum via Flickr

With businesses shuttered, social gatherings forbidden, and city streets largely empty, most types of crime, from drug offenses to robberies, have dropped considerably.

Data analyzed by The Trace show a major exception: gun violence.

An analysis of data collected by Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings in close to real time, shows more than 2,000 gun deaths in the U.S. between March 1 and April 19 — a 6 percent increase over the same period in the past three years.

In Dallas, the city’s stay-at-home order has done nothing to slow shootings. Between March 24, when the order took effect, and April 25, overall violent crime was 14 percent lower than average. Yet the city recorded 67 shooting incidents — 46 percent more than the average for this time of year.

In one case, a man was found dead of multiple bullet wounds early on a weekday afternoon outside a popular public recreation center shuttered to stop the virus’s spread.

The Trace reviewed crime data published by police departments in the 50 largest U.S. cities. Nine offered reliable, up-to-date records that track shootings or the weapons used in crimes. In four cities — Dallas, Nashville, Philadelphia, and Tucson — levels of gun violence increased or stayed the same under stay-at-home orders, when compared to the same time period in previous years.

Meanwhile, other violent crime decreased. Cities like Detroit, Newark, and Louisville don’t make up-to-date crime and weapon data available, but news outlets have reported increasing gun violence in those places.

Driving trend lines are hundreds of homicides and assaults. Philadelphia has been grappling with an outbreak of shootings since the start of the year. In late March, the week after its stay-at-home order took effect, the city recorded 40 shooting incidents, nearly double what it typically sees that week.

See also:  Gun Buying, Covid-19 and Domestic Violence: A Deadly Mix?

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