Murders up 30 percent in largest increase on record

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Murders rose nearly 30 percent in 2020, representing the largest increase on record, according to an analysis of FBI data by The New York Times.

The forthcoming FBI Unified Crime Report is expected to show that murders increased around 29 percent amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, eclipsing the previous largest one-year change of 12.7 percent in 1968.

The new FBI data showed around 21,500 murders in 2020, almost 5,000 more than in 2019, the newspaper noted.

However, the national murder rate, or murders per 100,000 people, is still about one-third below the rate in the early 1990s.

About 77 percent of murders reported in 2020 were committed with a firearm, the highest share ever reported.

According to the newspaper, the change was also not isolated to certain regions. Murders rose over 35 percent in cities with populations over 250,000 people; over 40 percent in cities with populations between 100,000 to 250,000; and around 25 percent in cities with populations under 25,000 people.

The FBI’s data is expected to be published Monday, according to the Times. The agency told the newspaper that while some numbers could be adjusted by then, the main conclusions of the data are unlikely to change.

The Times noted that while evidence suggests that murders are still up in 2021, the increase is not nearly as big as in 2020. 

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