Homicides increased 53% this summer in 27 US cities over the same three-month period last year—when there was no pandemic. There was a 14% rise in the number of aggravated assaults in the cities, a new analysis by the Council on Criminal Justice show. But overall, US crime is holding at the relatively low levels it's been at for years, the New York Times reports. Crimes including residential burglaries and drug offenses fell dramatically this summer. Minneapolis, Milwaukee, New York City, and Philadelphia aren't doing well reducing homicides, while rates in Baltimore, Boston, and Columbus are steady or declining. On Monday, the FBI said preliminary figures point to a 15% rise in homicides for 2020, which would be a record increase.
Analysts advance several theories for the jump in homicides, per Vox. The protests could have caused police officers to be pulled off their usual duties, or greater distrust of police could be at work. The jump in gun sales could share the blame. Social displacement caused by the pandemic might have an effect. But because 2020 is not like any other year, the usual logic may not apply, said a Yale expert. "The current year, 2020, is an extreme deviation from baseline—extreme,” Tracey Meares said. The nonpartisan research group's findings to not bear out President Trump's characterization of places with Democratic mayors as "anarchist jurisdictions." New York, Seattle, and Portland, Ore., do not project to finish in the 40 cities with the highest homicide rates for the year. (Read more homicide stories.)