top of page

Welcome to Crime and Justice News

Robberies, Thefts Rose Last Year In Big Cities As Homicides Dropped

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Reported homicides and most other violent crimes decreased last year in 35 major cities, but robberies and theft offenses rose as the nation began to emerge from the pandemic, says a new report from the think tank Council on Criminal Justice.

The council also is forming a Crime Trends Working Group that it says "will fill a yawning gap in the discourse" over crime policy, "producing trustworthy data on current crime trends and serving as a resource for sober analysis and public explanation of them. Both functions are sorely needed to better shape the public conversation on crime, safety, and justice."

The analysis shows that the number of murders in 2022 was four percent lower than counts recorded in 2021, some 242 fewer murders in the 27 cities that publicly report monthly homicide data. The national homicide rate remained 34 percent higher than in 2019, the year before the pandemic began, and about half the nationwide peaks in 1980 and 1991.

Fourteen of the 27 reporting cities listed a drop or no change in homicide last year, ranging from decreases of 40 percent in Richmond, Va. to no change in St. Louis. Thirteen cities experienced increases, ranging from under one percent in Houston to 48 percent in Raleigh, N.C.

The report includes a special section on motor vehicle theft. After falling for three decades, motor vehicle theft began to rise at the onset of the pandemic and jumped 59 percent from 2019 to 2022. In eight of the 30 cities with readily available data, vehicle thefts had more than doubled. They nearly tripled in Aurora, Co., and increased by almost as much in Memphis and Chicago.

Vehicle theft often is called a “keystone” crime that facilitates the commission of homicide, drive-by shootings, and other crimes.

While acknowledging the encouraging drop in homicide numbers, the study’s authors urged anticrime officials to intensify their anti-violence efforts.

“While it is heartening to see homicide numbers drop, too many communities continue to lose too many residents to bloodshed,” said the study’s co-author, University of Missouri - St. Louis Professor Emeritus Richard Rosenfeld. “Research has validated a toolbox of strategies that reduce violence. What we need now is urgent action from our leaders and community members to accelerate crime-prevention efforts that give people a greater sense of safety and save lives.”

The new study documented drops in two other violent crimes in 2022: Gun assaults fell seven percent (11 cities) and aggravated assaults declined 3.5 percent (19 cities) compared with 2021 levels.

Robberies began to increase near the end of 2021, and by the end of 2022 there were 4,143 more robberies in 31 of the study cities—a 5.5% increase over the number in

The robbery count remains four percent lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Reported drug crimes fell by two percent in 2022 (19 cities), domestic violence incidents dropped by nearly five percent (11 cities), and residential burglaries declined, by two percent (16 cities).

Nonresidential burglaries were up 11 percent in 16 cities) and larcenies rose eight percent in 29 cities).

Carjackings also increased during the pandemic, but not nearly so much, despite receiving considerable media attention in some big cities.

The council’s analysis found that carjackings rose by 24 percent between 2020 and 2022, peaking

last summer before falling off. That finding was based on just seven cities with available data.

Insha Rahman, the vice president of advocacy and partnerships at the Vera Institute of Justice told the New York Times that a “dominant narrative” since 2020 has been that the crime surge was driven by a loss of financial support for police because of criminal justice reform efforts. Police departments across the country have seen their budgets grow, she said. “Have police departments actually been defunded?” she asked. “The answer is no.”


Recent Posts

See All


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

bottom of page