A report given by the National Commission of COVID-19 and Criminal Justice has stated that death spread like wildfire in 2020, with a 30% homicide increase in 34 major US cities compared with data from 2019, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the re-emergence of the BLM movement believed to be the biggest factors to this increase.

What does the report say?

The report, titled “Pandemic, Social Unrest, and Crime in U.S. Cities”, examined data from 34 major cities in the United States, including New York City, only to then discover a shocking rise in homicide cases across the country.

The report analyzed data throughout 2020 for homicide rates and took into consideration seasonality and a “longer-term trend” when comparing the data with other years.

Shockingly, the report found that the murder rates across these major cities in the US were “higher during every month of 2020 relative to rates from the previous year”, with a massive 19% increase in homicide cases between the months of March and May; the first two significant months of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report continued to analyze data throughout the summer, a summer where the Black Lives Matter gripped the attention of the whole nation, for both good and bad causes.

Throughout the peak of BLM protesting, the report found a 37% increase in homicide cases between the months of June and August, a terrible 18% increase compared with the first few months.

From September through to December, the rate of increase remained high at 28%, with the report concluding that 29 of the 34 cities in this study saw an increase in murder compared with other years, with the aforementioned New York City seeing the highest increase with 43%.

According to the NYPD, there were 447 homicides recorded in the city, the highest total since 2011.

Shootings in the city also increased to 1,480 incidents, a massive 95% increase compared to 2019.

Across the board, incidents that involved a gun were up by 8% throughout the country whilst aggravated assault cases rose by 6%.


What’s to blame for the increase?

The report does not give a definitive answer as to the sole cause of this increase; however, it does recognize two key events throughout the year that may have had an effect on the rates; those being the pandemic and BLM.

The report states that the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions in the US “may have had an initial suppressive effect” on the homicide rate at the start of the year, however, it then goes on to claim that the easing of these restrictions, tied in with a vast amount of at-risk individuals not getting the help they need, will have “likely contributed to elevated homicide rates in 2020”.

In regards to the BLM movement, the report takes note of the spark for the protests and riots that took place throughout the summer, which coincided with a 37% increase in homicide rates, stating that the overall increase throughout the year of 2020 was “a large and troubling increase that has no modern precedent”.

Although the report doesn’t point to BLM as a determining factor, it is very easy to examine and create a link between the two; given the high amount of violence that derailed the movement throughout the summer, which could have potentially led to an increase of homicide and violent crime throughout major US cities.