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US murders rose by nearly 30% in 2020, rising at a slower rate in 2021

The United States in 2020 experienced the biggest rise in murder since the start of national record-keeping in 1960, according to data gathered by the FBI for its annual report on crime.

The Uniform Crime Report will stand as the official word on an unusually grim year, detailing a rise in murder of around 29%. The previous largest one-year change was a 12.7% increase in 1968. The national rate murders per 100,000 still remains about one-third below the rate in the early 1990s.

The data is scheduled to be released Monday along with a news release, but it was published early on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer website. The FBI said some numbers could change by Monday as it reviews possible discrepancies and receives updates. But the main conclusions of the data are highly unlikely to change.

Previously, the largest one-year increase in total number of murders was 1,938 in 1990. The FBI data shows almost 5,000 more murders last year than in 2019, for a total of around 21,500 (still below the particularly violent era of the early 1990s). About 77% of reported murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, the highest share ever reported, up from 67% a decade ago.

The change in murder was widespread — a national phenomenon and not a regional one. Murder rose more than 35% in cities with populations over 250,000 that reported full data. It also rose more than 40% in cities 100,000 to 250,000, and around 25% in cities under 25,000.

No geographic area was spared. The FBI reported in March that murder was up at least 20% in every region of the country, including around a 30% increase in the Midwest. Louisiana had the highest murder rate for the 32nd straight year.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: VOX

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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