The United States recorded a historic surge in homicides in 2020. According to the FBI, there were 21,570 murders nationwide in 2020, a 29% increase from 2019 – the largest single-year increase ever reported in the United States.
Though the precise reasons for the surge have yet to be determined, experts speculate that unrest following the murder of George Floyd, along with social and economic upheaval wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, likely played a role. Gun sales also surged in 2020, and firearms were used in 77% of murder cases, up from 73% in 2019. Here is a look at the states where gun sales are surging.
Whatever the explanation, murder is now at its highest level in the U.S. since the mid-1990s – and some major metropolitan areas are bearing the brunt of rising levels of deadly violence.
Using data from the FBI, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 metro areas where the murder rate is rising fastest. Metro areas are ranked by the year-over-year change in the number of murders per 100,000 people. In nearly every metro area on this list, the increase in the murder rate was at least double the national uptick of 1.5 homicides per 100,000 in 2020.
Murder – along with rаpe, robbery, and aggravated assault – is one component of the overall violent crime category. Even though murder accounts for a small percentage of all violent crimes, most metro areas on this list also reported an increase in the overall violent crime rate in 2020. Here is a look at the states where crime is soaring.
The largest share of metro areas that reported the largest increases in homicide are in the Midwest, while only two metro areas on this list are in the Northeast. Most of the metro areas on this list have a higher overall homicide rate than the national rate of 6.5 murders per 100,000 people.
Click here to see metros where murder rate is soaring
Click here to read our detailed methodology
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