Philadelphia among 12 major US cities where homicides are up, breaking records

The jump in homicides has not come out of the blue either, as violent crime has been rising across the country since the pandemic began in 2020
Shooting scene in Philadelphia
Shooting scene in Philadelphia Photo credit GettyImages

Across the U.S., several cities have broken their all-time homicide records, some of which have stood for more than three decades, making this one of the deadliest years ever.

At least 12 major U.S. cities have broken their annual homicide records, and with three weeks left in 2021, there is no sign of it slowing.

Several cities had a bigger than normal increase in homicides, like Philadelphia with 521 as of Dec. 6. The city had an increase of 13% from 2020 when it broke its record from 1990. This beat out New York City, 443 as of Dec. 5, and Los Angeles, 352 as of Nov. 27.

Chicago currently leads the nation in homicides with 739 as of the end of November, 3% more than it had last year. However, this is still not close to the city’s deadliest year in 1970, when the city had 974 homicides.

Cities that broke long-standing records included Portland, Oregon, breaking its homicide record from 1987; Tucson, Arizona broke its record from 2008; and Austin, Texas, breaking its record from 1984.

Experts have said several factors could be connected to the jump in homicides, from mass amounts of officers walking off the job to a decline in arrests over the last year, ABC News reported. However, they say the answer is not clear.

The Twin Cities have also seen their fair share of violence this year, with St. Paul breaking its record set in 1992 with 35 homicides this year already.

In Minneapolis, 91 homicides have been recorded as of the beginning of the month, just six shy of its record 97 homicides in 1995. Another midwestern capital, Milwaukee, is 12 short of its 2020 record of 178 homicides.

Other notable cities to break records include Toledo, Ohio; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Rochester, New York; and Alburquerque, New Mexico.

The jump in homicides has not come out of the blue either, as violent crime has been rising across the country since the pandemic began in 2020.

For example, Five of the 12 cities — Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville, Toledo, and Baton Rouge — have broken their records set or tied in 2020.

The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report also showed the nation saw a 30% increase in murder in 2020. That jump was the most significant single-year jump since the bureau started tracking crime statistics 60 years ago.

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