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Murder Totals Drop 20% In Reports From 183 Cities

Reported murder totals are down about 20 percent in 2024 in more than 180 cities with available data compared to a comparable timeframe last year (as of the moment of this piece's publication).

The total dropped 20.5 percent in 183 cities through at least January, down 20.2 percent in 174 cities with data through at least February, and down 20.8 percent in 59 cities with data through at least March 20, writes crime analyst Jeff Asher on Substack.

Asher cautions that his results do not mean that murder is down 20 percent nationally in 2024, but he says "murder is down roughly twice as much with a sample that’s twice as large as what we had last year at this time."

The murder total rose dramatically in 2020, a roughly 30 percent increase that was by far the largest one-year increase ever recorded. The nation's murder rate was roughly even or slightly higher relative to 2020 in 2021 before falling about 6 percent in 2022.

The evidence so far points to a larger — potentially even historically large — decline in 2023 though a more exact figure won't be known until October, Asher says


A murder decline of even half the magnitude suggested by the early 2024 data would place the U.S. murder rate this year largely on par with or below where it was from 2015 to 2019 before the 2020 surge.

Still, the figures from cities so far this year are encouraging — or at least as encouraging as any data on hundreds or thousands of tragedies can be, Asher says.

There are 16 cities that are down double-digits in murders this year compared to the same timeframe last year while there is just one city (Baton Rouge) that is reporting a double-digit increase so far.

Murder is down more than 30 percent at the moment in Washington D.C., New Orleans, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit, Columbus¹, Nashville, and Philadelphia.

Asher's YTD murder dashboard has been updated to include 2024 data.

Not every city is seeing a decline. Increasing murder has been reported in a few cities like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Charlotte, three cities where murder fell in 2023 but is up so far in 2024.

Some cities aren't included in the sample, including Memphis and Phoenix, because they have not published any aggregated murder data.

Shooting data from the Gun Violence Archive shows a decline of around 12 percent in shooting victims through March compared to 2023. This matches the trend of declining shootings in 20 of the 25 cities with available shooting data through at least February this year.

Mass shootings are also down substantially per GVA data. There were 91 mass shooting incidents this year as of March 31, 2024 compared to 131 mass shootings at the same point in 2023 (-31 percent).

Crime tends to trend up or down a few percentage points per year. A 15 or 20 percent annual decline in murder nationally seems fantastical, Asher says, but so too did a 30 percent rise before 2020 happened.

The early data establishes another potentially large decline in 2024 as an important trend to follow as the year goes on. The ciity sample at this point suggests that the decline in murder that began in 2022 is continuing and even potentially accelerating in 2024.


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