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Homicide Totals Fall 10% In Early-2023 Survey Of Big U.S. Cities

Earlier this year, preliminary data from New Orleans-based AH Analytics based on data from about 100 big U.S. cities indicated that after significant increases in homicides in 2020 and 2021, nearly two-thirds of big cities reported homicide declines in 2022 relative to 2021 and nationwide, murders in large cities were cumulatively down nearly 5% last year..

Because the declines followed particularly high homicide rates in many places, there still is a way to go to get back to pre-pandemic homicide levels, says Ohio State University law Prof. Douglas Berman in his Sentencing Law & Policy blog.

New data suggest that the positive homicide trends are continuing and perhaps even accelerating across cities. According to this AH Datalytics webpage, which is now updated with early 2023 data from police reports, there is so far a 10% decline in murders across cities for roughly the first quarter of 2023.

A sample of some big cities:

--Chicago homicides, down 14% last year, were down another 15% in 2023's first three months.

--Houston's numbers, down 9% year, were down another 34% in the first two months of 2023.

--Los Angeles homicides down 5% in 2022, were down 26% in the first three months of this year.

--New York homicides, down 11 percent in 2022, were down another 11 percent in the first two+ months of 2023.

--Philadelphia's total, down 9% last year, fell another 14% in 2023's first three months.

The data may not be fully representative of what may be going on nationwide, and data from the month of March in the biggest cities are not quite so positive as they were to start the year.

Still, the numbers could indicate that the homicide surge in 2020 and 2021 "were mostly a pandemic era phenomenon and that lower homicide rates may soon be more common," Berman says.


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