Homicides Are Surging In America’s Biggest Cities

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Homicides surged in America’s biggest cities in 2016, with 16 of the 20 largest police departments reporting a rise in murder rates as of mid-December.

Although violent crime like murder is way down compared to a couple decades ago, 37 of the 65 largest police agencies across the country reported year-over-year homicide increases Sept. 30, according to surveys conducted by The Wall Street Journal. (RELATED: More People Are Arrested For Marijuana Than All Violent Crimes Combined)

Chicago experienced one of the starkest upticks, with more than 720 murders — that’s up 56 percent from last year. In fact, Chicago’s total homicide count was greater than New York and Los Angeles combined. These two cities have significantly higher populations.

“I have a lot of concern about that many cities experiencing those increases in violence,” Darrel Stephens, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs Association, told The Wall Street Journal. His organization represents police chiefs from the biggest police departments in the U.S. “One thing that is consistent in our high-poverty, high-unemployment, low-educational achievement areas of our cities: We have a lot more violence than we have in other areas.”

While Chicago accounts for a large portion of the upward trend, San Antonio had the highest percentage increase with 144 homicides, equating to a 60 percent increase from 2015. Baltimore, Milwaukee, New York and Washington, D.C., were the four major cities that recorded dips in 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal. Out of these four, New York had a slight decrease last year, but the other three experienced surges over 50 percent in 2015.

A report conducted by Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist and professor at University of Missouri, St. Louis released in June, showed a nearly 17 percent increase in homicides during the last couple of years.

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