According to new data put out by the CDC on Wednesday, 2020 saw the largest spike in homicide rates in over one hundred years. Between 2019 and 2020, homicide rates jumped by about 30%, which experts say is one of the largest recorded increases in American history.
In 2020, the homicide rate was about 7.8 homicides per 100,000 people, an increase from roughly 6.0 homicides per 100,000 in 2019.
“The only larger increase since we’ve been recording these data occurred between 1904 and 1905, and that increase was most likely — at least partly — the result of better reporting,” Robert Anderson, head of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, told CNN.
That makes the current spike the largest in over a hundred years. Anderson’s branch plans on conducting further research to find out the mode of homicide.
He added, “We had states being added to what we refer to as the death registration areas, so we were counting deaths in more areas over time. We didn’t have all states reporting until 1933.”
The most recent increase in homicide rate that was relatively close was in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, when the homicide rate jumped close to 20%.
“A 30% increase is outstanding, really,” Anderson, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Places that haven’t traditionally had high homicides rates have had increases.”
He noted that while the vast majority of states saw their homicide rates increase, rates in Maine, New Mexico, and Alaska did decline.
This increase goes hand in hand with FBI data that was released last week, which also found a roughly 30% increase in homicides. Violent crime on the whole was up as well, according to the report.
“For the first time in four years, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased when compared with the previous year’s statistics, according to FBI figures released today,” the FBI said in a statement.
“In 2020, there were an estimated 1,277,696 violent crimes,” the FBI said. “The estimated number of aggravated assault offenses rose 12.1 percent, and the volume of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter offenses increased 29.4 percent.”
While the property crime rate fell, violent crimes rose by about 5%.
Many cities have faced the brunt of the increase in violent crime and homicides. Atlanta, for example, saw police homicide investigations increase from 99 in 2019 to 157 in 2020. To date this year, there have already been more homicides investigations in Atlanta than from the same time last year.
Some have linked national efforts to reduce funding for police departments in the wake of George Floyd’s death to the rise in violent crime.
“Democrats across the country spent the last year defunding police departments, so they shouldn’t be surprised when voters hold them responsible for the spike in violent crime,” said Mike Berg, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.