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Police Chiefs Cite 'Shocking' Data On Urban Violent Crime Rise

With under two months left before the midterm elections, the crime issue may be gaining even more relevance.

A survey by the Major Cities Chiefs Association showed that while homicide and rape totals are down in urban areas of the U.S. compared to the same point last year, violent crime, in general, has increased by 4.4 percent, and the rate of violent offenses remains much higher than before the pandemic.

The survey of 70 law enforcement agencies compared crime data from the first half of 2021 to the same period in 2022, a time when the COVID-19 crisis had waned, lessening the factors that contributed to violent crime rising nationally in 2020 for the first time in four years.

There were notable increases in robberies (13 percent) and aggravated assaults (2.6 percent), accounting for the lion’s share of the violent crime total — nearly 237,000 — in those cities from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2022. The total for the first half of 2019, before the pandemic, was a little over 193,000. Of those, 3,004 were homicides.

This year the number was 4,511 for the first six months.

“Compared to 2019 midyear figures, MCCA member cities have experienced a 50 percent increase in homicides and a roughly 36 percent increase in aggravated assaults,’’ the association said. “These shocking numbers demonstrate how the sustained increase in violent crime has disproportionately impacted major urban areas.’’

The Major Cities Chiefs Association survey provides useful information about crime trends in the nation’s largest population centers. It figures to be cited by politicians looking to win votes with tough-on-crime stands – or to portray their opponents as weak in that area.

In an Aug. 23 poll by the Pew Research Center, violent crime ranked as the third most important issue for registered voters in the congressional elections with 60 percent of the vote, tying with health care and trailing only the economy (77 percent) and gun policy (62 percent).

In June, after voters ousted a progressive district attorney in San Francisco and sent a onetime Republican into a mayoral runoff with the established Democratic candidate in Los Angeles, President Biden spoke about the importance of crime at the ballot box.

“The voters sent a clear message last night: Both parties ought to step up and do something about crime, as well as gun violence,” Biden said.


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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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