Record rise in homicides in the United States in 2020

This is a disturbing trend and still poorly understood. The United States recorded more than 21,500 homicides in 2020, up 30% year on year, according to statistics released Monday by the Federal Police (FBI). This peak had already been reported by several large cities but these are the first official figures and consolidated from data from nearly 16,000 of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies that exist in the country.

They show that the increase in homicides, particularly marked from June, has spared no part of the American territory, even if Louisiana remains at the top of the deadliest states.

The increase is the fastest since the FBI began collecting data in the 1960s, and brings homicide totals to a level not seen in 25 years, but still below the peak of the 1990s.

A rate six times higher than in France

Experts struggle to explain this phenomenon that some link to the pandemic-containment duo and their destabilizing effects, while others insist on the impact of major protests against police violence or on the increase in sales of firearms. According to the FBI report, 77% of homicides were committed with firearms in 2020, up from 74% in 2019.

The federal police have not yet released data for 2021 but preliminary figures communicated by the country’s major cities do not show an ebb. There were 6.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020 in the United States. By way of comparison, in 2018 there were 35 in Mexico, 27 in Brazil, 8 in Russia and 1 in France or Germany, according to the latest figures from the World Bank.

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