Homicide Rates are Falling in American Cities

Apr 25 / Dan Keller

Homicides in American cities are falling at the fastest pace in decades, bringing them close to levels they were at before a pandemic-era increase.

Nationwide, homicides dropped around 20% from the beginning of 2024 through the end of March compared with the same period in 2023.


Below is a sample of the change in homicides, year-to-date, by major city:


*Data taken from Wall Street Journal article 4/15/24


The decrease in homicides is an acceleration of a trend that began last year, following a surge in the number of homicides during the Covid-19 pandemic.


If this trend continues, the US could be on pace for a year like 2014, which saw the lowest homicide rate since the 1960’s.


During the pandemic, homicide rates increased throughout the country, sparking concerns that progress made during a decades-long drop in violent crimes had been undone. The number of homicides in the US rose nearly 30% in 2020 from the prior year to 21,570, the largest single-year increase ever recorded by the FBI.


Researchers and authorities attributed the upward spike in homicides to factors such as less emphasis upon crime prevention, courts and prisons being less available during the Covid pandemic surge, young people not in school due to shutdowns, and law enforcement pulling back after social unrest following the high-profile killing of George Floyd and other black citizens.


Currently, law enforcement is more community engaged, departments are attempting to employ more officers, community-based crime prevention programs have resumed, and nationwide social unrest has cooled. In some cities, the decline in homicides has been accompanies by a reduction in property crimes.


*Accredited to Dan Frosch and Cameron McWhirter, Wall Street Journal


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