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Murders Down This Year In Big Cities; Will The Trend Continue?

At the start of this year, crime trends looked grim. Murders in the U.S. had spiked at a record speed in 2020 and increased further in 2021. This year, the violence has eased, reports the New York Times. Murders in large cities are down more than five percent so far in 2022 compared with the same time last year, says the research firm AH Datalytics. Gun deaths, injuries and mass shootings are also down this year. The causes of the murder spike have receded. COVID-19 disrupted much of life in 2020 and 2021, including social services that help keep people safe. That applies to policing and to places like schools and addiction treatment facilities that can help people — especially young men, the more common perpetrators and victims of violent crime — stay out of trouble. As life returns to normal, these programs have reopened and helped suppress murders and shootings.

It's also a longer time span since the 2020 murder of George Floyd in 2020, which led to widespread protests and strained police-community trust across the U.S. The public’s loss of confidence in the police may have led more people to resolve conflicts through their own means, including violence, instead of through the justice system. The passage of time and efforts to repair trust have diminished those effects. The 2020 election, the Jan. 6 attack and other events have made the past few years feel chaotic, damaging social cohesion and trust in institutions. Some experts argue that this can lead to more crime and violence. Other kinds of crime may have increased this year in 2022. (A report from the Major Cities Chiefs Association from 70 cities showed robberies up markedly through September compared with last year.) Murders are still higher than they were in 2019. And it’s possible the trends reported in large cities don’t apply to the entire country.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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