Experts who spoke to Fox News told the network that they expect violent crime to rise again over the summer of 2021, following a particularly violent spring, and cities like St. Louis, Missouri, New York City, and Chicago, Illinois, are likely to lead the way to a record-setting national homicide rate.
“It’s not getting any better,” Joseph Giacalone, a professor of Criminal Justice, told Fox News Friday. “Let’s put it this way: New York City is already ahead of last year’s pace, but last year, the homicides and shootings really started spiking at the end of May and into June. So that will be the real tale of the tape, so to speak, to see what’s happening over there.”
Big cities are expected to have the worst rates, with cities like St. Louis and Chicago already experiencing higher than average numbers.
“So, if you look at New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore, you name the big cities and they’re having huge problems,” Giacalone told Fox. “We have … the pandemic ending. People want to get out and do things again. And it’s just a cocktail for disaster to some.”
The third week of May was particularly bloody, as temperatures skyrocketed through much of the country, sending more people outside. According to Fox, 369 people were shot in the past 72 hours as of Friday afternoon. Over the weekend, Chicago’s NBC News affiliate reported, 36 people were shot in Chicago alone, and eight were killed.
The New York Police Department reported this week that the city has seen a 350% increase in murders for the third week of May, year over year. St. Louis is, however, leading the way with the highest murder rate so far — and the single worst rate for that city in half a century, per Fox News.
“St. Louis had 87 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2020, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the worst rate in the country,” the outlet reported. “It’s now at its highest rate in 50 years – even as the population has dwindled in that same time period. Some city officials have blamed the spike in violence on the coronavirus pandemic – which would follow the national trend, except St. Louis also led the country before COVID-19 in homicides per 100,000 in 2019 with 65.”
St. Louis’ mayor, however, is looking at “defunding” the city’s police department, diverting $4 million from law enforcement to “social” assistance organizations, and insists that fewer police officers will not have a dramatic effect on that city’s crime rate.
“Funding a comprehensive approach to violent crime is the best approach to reducing murders,” Interim City of St. Louis Director of Public Safety Daniel Isom told media. “This requires both police and partnering agencies adequately funded to support victims and hold offenders accountable. It also requires target arrest and prosecutions to get murderers and shooters off the streets and not filling jails with nonviolent offenders.”
New York is close behind with a 200% increase in murders on some weekends, year-over-year.