Homicide Rates in U.S. Decline Following a Pandemic-Era Spike

July 21, 2023

The U.S. homicide rate declined by an average 9.4% in the first half of 2023, the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) reported this week. 

The study on crime rates across the U.S. involved 37 U.S. cities, including 30 that that make homicide rates readily available. 

Twenty cities in the study recorded a decrease in homicides during the first six months of the year, ranging from a 59% drop in Raleigh, North Carolina, to a 2% drop in Nashville. Ten cities experienced an increase in homicide, ranging from about 5% in Seattle to 133% in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The study further found drops in other crimes, including gun assaults (-5.6%), robberies (-3.6%), nonresidential burglaries (-5%), larcenies (-4.1%), residential burglaries (-3.8%), and aggravated assaults (-2.5%), all in the first six months of this year.

However, motor vehicle theft, which had begun to rise at the start of the Covid pandemic, continued its upward trend, with a 33.5% increase in the first half of 2023.

“The decline we see across the major crime categories is encouraging, but our country should not be comfortable with rates of violence that continue to claim thousands of lives each year,” said study co-author Richard Rosenfeld, a University of Missouri-St. Louis Professor Emeritus and chair of CCJ’s recently formed Crime Trends Working Group.

The drop in homicide rates followed a 29% increase in 2020, according to FBI data. That year marked the largest one-year jump since the Bureau’s record-keeping began, though still below historic highs of the 1990s.

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