New Orleans-based crime analyst Jeff Asher says he has found "strong evidence of a sharp and broad decline in the nation’s murder rate," he writes in The Atlantic. The U.S. may be experiencing one of the largest annual percent changes in murder ever recorded, Asher says. It is still early in the year and the trend could change over the second half of the year, but data from a sufficiently large sample of big cities have typically been a good predictor of the year-end national change in murder..
Murder is down about 12 percent year-to-date in more than 90 cities that have released data for 2023, compared with data as of the same date last year. Big cities tend to slightly amplify the national trend—a 5 percent decline in murder rates in big cities would likely translate to a smaller decline nationally. Even so, the drop shown in the preliminary data is astonishing, Asher says. His latest reports from big cities can be seen here. The FBI reported 16,425 homicides in the U.S. in 2019 under its old summary reporting system. The figure was 13,477 in 2021, but that did not represent an actual decline in homicides but rather incomplete reporting from local police departments under the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).