Murder Surged In New York City During 2020, And Police Suggest Defund The Police Might Have Something To Do With It

(Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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New York City police are pointing to calls to defund the police and complications brought on by the coronavirus to explain why the city has experienced its highest number of killings since 2011, the Associated Press reported.

Nearly 450 people have been murdered this year in America’s largest city, more than a 40% increase from last year, according to the Associated Press. The number of shooting victims has also skyrocketed to more than double the total in 2019, which nears a 14-year high, the Associated Press reported.

New York City’s rise in homicide marks the third consecutive year of increasing murders in the city, according to the Associated Press.

“We’re definitely coming out of that dark period,” New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. “The confluence of COVID into the protests into all of the debate about defunding the police — I can’t imagine a darker period,” he added. (RELATED: ‘Defunding The Police’ Is Insane. Here’s The Evidence)

Riots and protests for racial justice continued to rock many American cities after the death of George Floyd in May.

Outside New York City’s city hall in June, a “Defund the Police” protest turned into an occupation. Eventually, the city government caved and cut the police budget by $1 billion. The government’s actions cut police personnel overtime and got rid of a recruiting class of 1,200, the Associated Press reported.

The call to defund the police matched the peak of 2020’s violence. July, August, and September were the bloodiest months of 2020 with an average of 57 murders, compared to 33 in 2019, according to the Associated Press.

The most impacted communities from the scourge of violence and coronavirus have been low-income communities. “It just adds to the social disorganization that exists,” Samuel Walker, University of Nebraska at Omaha professor emeritus, said, according to the Associated Press.

While these figures are concerning, killings and shootings have not yet surged to the level of violent incidents the city experienced during the 1990s.

Other cities across America have struggled to fight severe violent crimes. Los Angeles, for example, experienced 322 murders as of Dec. 12 of this year—more than a 30% increase from last year—according to the Associated Press. In Chicago, homicides are up by 56%, the Associated Press reported.