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2023 Homicide Drop In 10 Largest Cities Estimated At 15%

The homicide drop last year in the nation's 10 largest cities was estimated by the Wall Street Journal to be 15%. That includes a 20% drop in Philadelphia and Houston and 16% in Los Angeles. Murders rose in two of the top 10 cities. Dallas reported a 15% increase, while homicides in Austin edged up by 3%. The overall trend shows that the factors that contributed to an increase in violent confrontations in the early days of the pandemic are receding. Shootings are falling as gang-violence prevention programs get back up and running. Domestic killings declined as families are no longer confined together at home. Police are more active after a pullback in enforcement during the racial-justice protests over the murder of George Floyd.

Even with declining numbers, people are jittery about crime. A Gallup poll in November found that 63% of U.S. residents saw crime as a serious problem, up from 54% in 2022 and the highest in at least two decades. 

 In Los Angeles, homicides dropped for a second straight year. “We’re not seeing the levels of violence that we saw earlier,” said Police Chief Michel Moore. “We’re still above where we were in 2019, so there’s a lot more work to be done.” Los Angeles’s 327 homicides last year were down from a 15-year-high of 402 in 2021. In the early days of the pandemic—with the closure of courts and the release of prisoners due to COVID-19—“the criminal element and others felt it was ‘olly olly oxen free,’ ” said Moore. With the criminal-justice system up and running again and the city’s army of gang-intervention workers back to heading off rivalries and retaliatory shootings, killings have fallen, he said. Another major factor: The city’s leadership, which at one time supported calls to “defund the police,” is now pushing to hire more officers. A few major cities like Dallas and Washington, D.C., which isn’t one of the 10 largest, saw increases in homicides in 2023.


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