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Encouraging Trend: 12% Decline In Big-City Homicides This Year

With summer now over, urban homicide numbers for 2023 remain encouraging. Ohio State University law Prof. Douglas Berman has been flagging AH Datalytics' collection of homicide data from police reports in nearly 100 big cities. After significant increases in homicides throughout the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, homicide declines in 2022 were continuing into the first half of 2023, says Berman in his Sentencing Law and Policy blog. Homicide declines for 2022 followed particularly high homicide rates in many locales in 2021. There still is a way to go to get back to pre-pandemic homicide levels.


As we enter fall, according to this AH Datalytics webpage, there is now over a 12% cumulative decline in murders across the largest cities. Among them: Chicago homicides down 14% last year and another 12% over the first nine months of 2023, Houston down 9% last year and another 20% in 2023' first eight months, Los Angeles down 5% last year and another 25% over nine months this year, New York City down 11% last year and another 11% this year, and Philadelphia down 8% last year and another 19% this year. Homicide trends are unpredictable and data can change in lots of ways in coming months. Still, the latest nationwide homicide data reinforce Berman's hope that the surging number of homicides in just about every part of the U.S. through 2020 and 2021 were mostly a pandemic era phenomenon and that homicide rates may be trending back toward pre-pandemic norms. The new National Crime Victimization Survey delivered sobering news about (non-homicide) violent victimization in 2022, although the Council of Criminal Justice had more encouraging news on violent crime in 2022 based on different metrics.

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