In the months following George Floyd’s death, America saw an increase in murders, an increase some experts attribute directly to the violent riots and “Defund Police” movement.
Murders in 2020 increased nationwide, but African-Americans were disproportionately affected, seeing a 43% increase in murders compared to the previous 10-year average.
“Certainly, the protests and riots mid-2020 after the death of George Floyd followed a pattern of spiking violence that we’ve seen following past viral police incidents, such as the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. This pattern has been termed the ‘Ferguson Effect’: police pull back while violent crime spikes precipitously,” the director of the policing and public safety initiative at the Manhattan Institute, Hannah Meyers, told Fox News.
FBI data show that more black people were murdered in 2020 than in 2019, and the increase really began in the months after Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers. In 2019, the data show 7,484 black Americans were murdered, but in 2020, that number increased to 9,941 – nearly 2,500 more, an increase of nearly 30% over just one year.
The number of white people murdered also increased, but not to the same extent. That same FBI data show that 7,043 white people were murdered in 2020, nearly 3,000 fewer than the number of black people killed in the same year. But both murder rates were an increase over the previous 10-year average.
“Between 2010 and 2019, there was an average of 5,954 White murders, which is roughly 16% lower than the 10-year average of Black murders. During that same time period, an average of 6,927 Black Americans were murdered each year, meaning Black murders shot up by 43% in 2020 compared to the previous 10-year average,” Fox News reported.
For white Americans, there was an 18% increase in murders in 2020 over the previous 10-year average. And while some experts, such as Georgia State University criminology professor Volkan Topalli, pin the blame for the increase in murders on the pandemic, others insist it is something else.
“I’m not surprised at all that we had an increase in crime,” Topalli told Politico in October. “Criminologists and public health people were saying that that was going to be the case as soon as they heard about the pandemic.”
“The pandemic … revealed something that most of us already knew, which was that we have segments of society that don’t have the advantages of other segments of society,” he added. “They’re just beneath the surface and the pandemic sort of, you know, as with a hurricane … has revealed the disparities.”
Other experts, like the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, argued against this theory, writing in The Wall Street Journal in 2016 that “the Black Lives Matter narrative about racist, homicidal cops has produced virulent hostility in the streets.”
The evidence seems to side with Mac Donald. While crime usually rises in the spring and summer months, crime in those months in 2020 was in line with previous years, but in the months after Floyd’s death, a sharp increase was observed, peaking July, that outpaced previous years.