Violent crime has gone up for the first time in four years, driven by a staggering 30 percent rise in murders in 2020, as the country navigated a pandemic that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and led to a massive economic shutdown.
There were 4,901 more murders last year than in 2019, a rise of 29.4 percent, according to numbers released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday.
Overall violent crime - defined as murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault - rose 5.6 percent from 2019 to 2020. Murder was followed by aggravated assault, which rose 12.1 percent. Meanwhile, reports of rape went down 12 percent and robberies fell 9.3 percent.
Monday's data came from nearly 16,000 agencies across the country. It broke down a total of 1,277,696 violent crimes and 6,452,038 property crimes reported throughout 2020.
Violent crime increased for the first time in four years, according to the latest US crime numbers from the FBI. The hike is driven by murder, aggravated assault and car theft
The estimated rate of violent crime rose to 387.8 offenses per 100,000 people in 2020
Most of it can be attributed to the staggering rise in murder, up nearly 30 percent from 2019
The 2020 murder rate is around a third less than the peak of 10.2 murders per 100,000 in 1980
The rise in murder is the biggest since the bureau began keeping track in 1960. It beats the 1968 increase of 12.7 percent as the biggest one-year change.
Still, the number of murders per capita remains well below the peak recorded in the 1980s and early 90s.
In 2020, the estimated rate of violent crime was 387.8 offenses per 100,000 people, up from 366.7 per 100,000 in 2019.
Meanwhile, the bureau reported 551 less sworn officers across local, state, federal, university and tribal agencies despite 130 more departments submitting staffing data this year.
Experts attribute the rise in crime to a number of factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, distrust between the police and the public after the murder of George Floyd, a pullback by the police in response to criticism and increased firearm carrying, according to the New York Times, which reviewed preliminary data last week.
Pandemic-related economic shutdowns cost millions of Americans their jobs, and hundreds of thousands of people found themselves having to care for sick relatives and pay for sudden medical or funeral costs.
About 77 percent of murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, the highest share ever reported, up from 67 percent a decade ago, New Orleans-based crime analyst Jeff Asher told the Times.
'We know having a gun in your home, having a