Homicide rates in 20 major American cities in June jumped 37 percent from the previous month, compared with a six percent increase over the same period in 2019, University of Missouri criminologist Richard Rosenfeld told the New York Times on Tuesday.
The unusual spike in homicides and aggravated assault comes as overall crime in most American cities is down.
Police in some cities, including New York, have complained that the need to divert officers to deal with George Floyd protests has left some neighborhoods without effective enforcement, while criminologists cited by the Times have said that the rise in homicides likely has many additional causes. Among those causes are the effects of coronavirus lockdowns on various cities.
“I’m sure there will be academic studies for years to come as to what caused the spike of 2020,” commented Tim Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Kansas City, which lies in Garrison’s district, saw 44 murders over May and June of 2020, more than twice the amount recorded over the same period the previous year.
“I’m sure the lockdown didn’t help,” Garrison continued. “When you already have a stressed economic situation and you put a lot of folks out of work, and a lot of teenagers out of school, it’s a volatile situation.”
Both Chicago and New York have seen a major increase in homicides and shooting victims this year. Chicago police recorded 440 homicides in the first seven months of 2020, up from 290 homicides over the same period last year. New York has had a 30-percent increase in homicides in 2020 as compared with 2019.