New York City, for example, experienced around 500 murders in 2020, compared to 319 in 2019, but both figures were well below the city’s worst year, 1990, when there were more than 2,200. Chicago had 771 murders last year, compared to about 500 in 2019 and 939 in 1992, one of the city’s most violent years. There were 351 murders last year in Los Angeles, up from 258 in 2019; his record is 1,010 murders in 1980.
The protests that erupted after George Floyd’s murder were also a major factor, although experts differ on why. Some argue that the police, under intense scrutiny and demoralized, deviated from some aspects of crime prevention. Others put the emphasis on the public, suggesting that diminishing respect for the police led more people to try to take the law into their own hands.
“Mistrust in the police, low police morale, the fact that the police are being less proactive because they are legitimately concerned about being backed by their superiors,” were contributing factors, according to Mr. Winograd.
Law enforcement officers also cited what they called the revolving jail door created by bail reform as a factor driving violence, although critics of that hypothesis noted that violent crime also increased in places where those changes were not taking place. have produced.
Other factors are more constant. The combination of drugs, money, and guns, for example, has long provided a fuse for violent deaths among young men.
“A lot of this really goes back to people stressed out by poverty, mental health issues and drug addiction, and resolving a lot of these firearm disputes,” said Liz Thomson, who used to oversee homicide investigations for the Department. Albuquerque Police Department.
Even before the pandemic, people seemed more irritable, with minor disputes escalating into violent confrontations that ended in murder, law enforcement and other analysts noted. That trend only deepened during the pandemic, they said, with perceived personal insults among the most common motivations for murder.