The Potential Link Between Murder Rates and COVID-19

The Potential Link Between Murder Rates and COVID-19 – Allen Yates of Yates & Wheland – https://chattanoogatnlawfirm.com/

Cities across America are experiencing the harmful and devastating effects that COVID-19 has had on their communities. While the pandemic has taken a visible toll on economic, employment, and public health networks, some believe it may also be to blame for a rise in murder rates, particularly in cities that have taken an economic nosedive as a result of the pandemic.

Researchers have cautioned that the rise of murder rates experienced throughout 2020 has strongly correlated to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, they note that the statistics are an extreme deviation from the baseline, and were recorded in many cities, both big and small.

The Record Number of Homicides

In California, the significant uptick in murder rates ravaged the entire state. In Oakland, there was a 40 percent increase in the number of homicides, as well as six killings of minors within a four-month span. Towards the southern end of the state, in Los Angeles, similar rates were observed as the city recorded 304 homicides in 2020, up 25 percent from the prior year. This also marked the first year since 2009 that homicides hit above 300.

Yet these patterns have not been limited solely to California and have been seen in cities across the country, from Minnesota and Texas to New York. The city of Philadelphia saw one of the highest increases in homicides, with a 40 percent jump from the prior year.

Overall, more than 20 cities saw murder rates rise greater than 40 percent, and it is estimated that the national murder rate increased by nearly 36 percent over the past year. With these staggering numbers, 2020 marked the largest one-year rise in murder rates that the country has ever seen.

Financial Instability and Unemployment

Experts are looking for reasons as to why cities have experienced these record-high homicide rates and believe that a handful of different factors may be at play. Some speculate, however, that the most obvious factor may be the impact that the pandemic has had on the financial wellbeing of communities. The number of lost jobs and layoffs has been rising nationwide, leading to a record-high unemployment rate of 6 percent, which is likely to leave a lasting mark on the American economy.

As economic hardships continue to run rampant, individuals have been met with a lack of resources, isolation, and hopelessness, all of which further aggravate underlying conditions that typically lead to violence.

Record Gun Sales

The looming sense of instability and high stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has led some individuals to purchase firearms. This uncertainty was further spiked over fears of protests, as individuals took to the streets to protest racial injustices throughout the summer months.

These combined factors caused Americans to purchase firearms at a record pace, with nearly half of these purchases appearing to be first-time gun owners. As a result, leading gun industry groups have announced that 2020 was the biggest year on record for gun sales in America. Thus, with more people carrying guns, there is a heightened risk that disputes will escalate to gun violence.

Lack of Community Resources

Not only are homicide rates rising, but they are rising particularly among younger people. This is largely attributed to the fact that many community resources and support systems no longer exist because of the pandemic. With many schools still remote, students are no longer going to class in-person and have had many after-school programs such as sports or clubs canceled. This lack of routine, paired with boredom and social isolation, has pushed some students onto the streets and into new patterns of behavior that have progressively been turning towards gun violence.

Questionable Future Crime Rates

Despite this drastic rise in murder rates, there has been an overall decline in crime. Experts believe that individuals are forgoing more common criminal patterns, such as shoplifting, car theft, and robbery, and are instead turning to far more violent crimes involving firearms as economic, mental, and personal issues are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet experts note that these homicide rates remain troubling, and with no return to “normal” insight, they question if these rates will continue to rise.


The Potential Link Between Murder Rates and COVID-19 – Allen Yates of Yates & Wheland – https://chattanoogatnlawfirm.com/

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