(Reuters) – The number of murders in the United States rose nearly 30% in 2020 and overall violent crime rose for the first time in four years, the FBI said in its annual crime report on Monday, in a surge experts attribute in part to COVID-19 hardships.
Murder and non-negligent manslaughter offenses rose 29.4 percent in 2020 over 2019, marking the largest annual increase since national record-keeping began in the 1960s, the New York Times and Washington Post reported.
Overall violent crime was up 5.6% to nearly 1.3 million incidents, although property crime fell 7.8% to nearly 6.5 million incidents, marking the 18th consecutive year that property crimes have decreased, the FBI said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program collects data reported by law enforcement agencies across the country.
A greater percent of homicides were the result of gun violence – 76% in 2020 versus 73% in 2019 – with Houston seeing a 55% increase in gun homicides, reaching 343 in 2020 compared to 221 in 2019, the Washington Post reported.
U.S. President Joe Biden has focused on gun violence in his anti-crime policy, urging greater cooperation among local and federal leaders.
Biden, who has pledged to push for sweeping changes to firearms laws, in June unveiled measures to stem the flow of firearms used in crimes, building on executive orders signed in April that include a push by the Justice Department to better control self-assembled “ghost guns”
The Democratic president, who has longstanding ties to law enforcement, has also announced steps to hold rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws and help states hire more police officers using COVID-19 rescue funds.
U.S. murders soar nearly 30% in 2020, FBI reports
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