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- Preliminary data indicates a sharp decline in murder rates across major US cities.
- Murder is down about 12 percent year-to-date in more than 90 cities.
- Declines have been noted in New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, Jackson, Atlanta, Little Rock, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee among others.
Overview: a significant downturn
For the first time in years, a positive and promising trend is emerging from US crime data, according to Jeff Asher, crime analyst.
The murder rate in more than 90 cities across the nation is witnessing a decrease of about 12 percent compared to the same time last year.
New York City has experienced a 13 percent decline in murders and a 25 percent drop in shootings compared to the previous year.
Cities like Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia have seen their murder rates fall by more than 20 percent.
Jackson, Atlanta, Little Rock, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee are reporting murder rates down by 30 percent or more.
Decoding the trend: complex causes
Explaining the decline in crime is much more challenging than just stating the facts. Current theories suggest the possibility that police departments may have returned to proactive work that was curtailed during the COVID pandemic and after the George Floyd incident. This proactive work might be helping to inhibit some instances of gun violence, according to Jeff Asher.
Furthermore, it appears that the conclusion of the emergency phase of the coronavirus pandemic may be influencing the drop in murder. With COVID restrictions lifted and a return to normalcy, societal constraints affecting routine activities are returning.
The role of community efforts: a push towards prevention
There has been a concerted effort to fund community interventions from both the federal government and philanthropic organizations to address violence. This increased investment in violence prevention, such as the Department of Justice's $100 million award to community groups addressing gun violence last year, has boosted the intervention ecosystem.
While it's still early to make concrete conclusions and the trend could reverse by the end of the year, the initial five months of 2023 are certainly bringing some long-awaited positive news on the crime front.