Major American Cities Set Record-Breaking Homicide Numbers in 2021

In Summary

The year 2021 turned out to be one of the deadliest yet for many cities across America, shattering record-breaking homicide numbers from previous years. 

WARNING: This story contains discussions of gun violence. 

For more than two-thirds of America’s 40 most populated cities, 2021 was one of the deadliest years on record, with CNN reporting homicide rates higher than any other year in 10 of them. 

Thomas Abt of the Council on Criminal Justice attributed the increase in homicides to the impact of COVID-19, the consequences of social unrest following Floyd’s death and the uptick in gun sales since the pandemic began, per CNN. 

RELATED: Gun violence incidents on the rise in the United States 

Police in Chicago investigated 797 killings in 2021, the most since 1996. Homicides also increased by 12% in Los Angeles and 4% in New York. 

The Associated Press reported more people were killed by other individuals in Jackson, Mississippi in 2021 than in any previous year with at least 152 homicides, the bulk of which were gun-related. 

Close analysis of evolving crime patterns, according to a University of Utah SJ Quinney College of Law student, suggest that American communities saw significant declines in some forms of policing, which resulted in homicide surges in 2020 that apparently carried into the following year. 

Following the murder of George Floyd by former police officer Derek Chauvin and the ensuing unrest in towns across the country, homicides surged in 2020. In 2021, Minneapolis itself matched its previous high of 97 homicides for the first time since 1997. 

RELATED: ‘It has not improved at all’: Big Freedia talks gun violence, need for change 

“We know the pandemic has increased the level of desperation that leads to violent crime across the nation, and Jackson has not been immune to that trend,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said, per AP. 

Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Memphis, Tennessee; Louisville, Kentucky; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Tucson, Arizona are among the 10 cities with the highest number of killings on record. 

RELATED: Justin Johnson, 23, Wanted for Murder of Memphis Rapper Young Dolph 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by discussions of gun violence, resources are available here.

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