Homicides in the U.S. increased 28 percent in the first nine months of 2020 and aggravated assaults increased nine percent, while rapes and robberies fell significantly, show data compiled from 223 police agencies by the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the Police Executive Research Forum, reports the Washington Post. Some police chiefs say the impacts of the coronavirus and uprisings against police violence caused them to redirect officers away from proactive anti-crime programs. Others cite job loss and other stresses of the pandemic as fueling tension and leading to violence. With many schools closed, many areas have seen a rise in juvenile crime. Fort Worth had a 66 percent increase in killings and Boston a 52 percent jump. Cities that experienced tumultuous protests in the wake of police killings saw some of the highest homicide spikes: Minneapolis’s total went from 33 to 61 this year, an 85 percent increase. Louisville had a 79 percent increase, Portland 68 percent, and Milwaukee’s homicides have more than doubled, from 67 to 141, a 110 percent increase.
“We haven’t seen numbers like this since the 1990s,” said PERF’s Chuck Wexler. “We’ve had 20 years of steady declines in crime. Is this just an aberration, or does this portend something for the future? … The next administration, they’re going to have to pay serious attention to this.” In Kansas City, Ks., homicides were up from 23 to 40, and aggravated assaults are up 75 percent. “People are in crisis,” said Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree. “We’ve had so many people stuck in their homes, not going to work, not going to church. Just sitting idle … We’re seeing people dying of silliness, for no reason. A year ago, we weren’t seeing that.” The findings continue a trend found by criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri St. Louis in a July study of 27 cities. Property crimes dropped, but homicides and aggravated assaults were already showing significant rises .