The report, titled “Crime in the United States” showed that murders have jumped significantly in recent years, up 8.6 percent since 2015 and 16.1 percent since 2012. It estimated that there were 17,250 murders last year in the United States. Adjusting for population differences, the murder rate itself also increased, with 5.3 murders per 100,000 people, as 12.8 percent increase since 2012.
While these are not unprecedented numbers—violent crime was significantly higher in the 1990s and before—the FBI says this report “reaffirms that the worrying violent crime increase that began in 2015 after many years of decline was not an isolated incident.”
The report included all violent crime: murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, and showed that across the board these crimes have been steadily increasing.
Of note, the violence is occurring across the country and not just relegated to typical havens of violence like Chicago and Baltimore. Although last year alone, murders nearly doubled in Chicago.
The statistics will only support the position of the Trump administration and the Department of Justice, who have frequently pointed to an increase in violent crime as justification for a return of “law and order”.
Previously, while James Comey was the director of the FBI, he frequently cited negative scrutiny of law enforcement as a reason for a spike in violent crime, saying that officers in crime-addled areas were less likely to be aggressive in the face of increased hostility towards their profession. The so-called “Ferguson Effect,” referring to a backlash against law enforcement in the wake of the 2014 Ferguson unrest, is a controversial theory even within the law enforcement community.
Image courtesy of the FBI