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But overall crime rates are lower when compared to prior years, according to a report by the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice.
Homicide and violent crimes spiked slightly in U.S. cities since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, but they are lower when compared to prior years, according to a report by the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ).
The report examined monthly crime rates for 10 violent, property and drug-related crimes in 34 cities. The study sites crime data obtained from online portals of local police departments. New York was the biggest city examined and Norfolk, Virginia was the smallest.
The number of homicides rose by 24% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020 (an increase of 193 homicides) and by 49% compared to the first quarter of 2019 (an increase of 324 homicides). The NCCCJ found that during the first quarter, homicide rates declined from their high in the summer of 2020, but remained above levels in the first quarter of prior years.
The report shows that despite recent increases, the 2020 year-end homicide rate in the study sample was just over half of what it was for those cities 25 years ago—11.4 deaths per 100,000 residents versus 19.4 per 100,000 in 1995.
Meanwhile, aggravated and gun assault rates were higher in the first quarter than in the same period of 2020, while burglary, larceny and drug offense rates were lower in those same periods. Domestic violence did not increase early in 2021, but the result is based on just 11 of the 32 cities and "should be viewed with caution," the commission said.
On a final note, the report states that as the pandemic subsides, cities should pursue crime-control strategies of "proven effectiveness" and enact policing reforms to achieve "prompt yet durable reductions in violent crime in our cities."
NCCCJ's latest report is for March 2021, the organization updates the numbers monthly. To read more about the findings click here.
Brent Woodie is an associate editor at Route Fifty.
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