Murders in the U.S. shot up by more than 10 percent in 2015, compared to the year prior, while violent crimes overall inched upward about 4 percent during the same time frame. That’s according to the latest statistics reported by the FBI. This was the highest violent crime rate in three years.
We must be mindful of the fact that these numbers are much lower than the crime levels reported a decade or two ago, but still a marked increase following several years of decline.
These figures were highly anticipated because violent crime in the U.S. has been given greater scrutiny the last few months, particularly as it’s an issue that has been noted repeatedly by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. While certain violent crimes like rape, robbery and assault have fallen, the rise of homicide and other serious crimes has drawn concern.
Addressing the latest figures in a meeting on curbing violent in certain areas, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch asserted that an increase of any degree is something that is of “the deepest concern” to her office and other federal authorities.
Following word of the crime uptick, federal authorities sent out a series of news releases to announced several grants that would be awarded to communities to help improve communication among agencies regarding illegally-purchased firearms, as well as other crime-fighting initiatives. It’s estimated 70 percent of murders in the U.S. last year were carried out with a firearm.
Criminal law and order has taken center stage during this election year, with the two presidential candidates taking very different approaches in the wake of several high-profile police shootings of unarmed black males. While Republican Donald Trump has emphasized a priority of “restoring order” in certain cities, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has vowed to form partnerships between minorities and law enforcement communities. This new data could well be a major talking point in the final stretch of the election season.
Some police departments reported seeing murders spike dramatically in 2015, with additional increases so far this year. However, there is disagreement as to the actual cause.
Our Miami criminal defense lawyers know there is strong evidence to show that Americans always have a top concern for crime. In fact, they have a tendency to believe it’s going up, even when it’s actually dramatically going down, according to Gallup polls. This matters because it colors the kind of policy and candidates voters suport.
But even despite these most recent figures, it was revealed by the Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project that the nation is actually safer now than it has been in more than 50 years.
The breakdown based on individual cities varied dramatically. Miami, for example, tallied 81 murders in 2014, compared with 75 in 2015. That’s a decrease of 7 percent, with a murder rate per 100,000 falling from 19 down to 17. Compare that with Washington, D.C. which saw a 54 percent increase in murders, from 105 in 2014 to 162 in 2015. The murder rate there went from 16 per 100,000 in 2014 up to 24 per 100,000 last year.
The most dramatic increase among cities with more than 400,000 people was Baltimore, MD, which saw an increase of 63 percent, with a murder rate that climbed from 34 per 100,000 in 2014 to 55 per 100,000 in 2015. Chicago had the most murders of any major city, with 478 reported last year, an increase of 16 percent from a year earlier.
Contact the Miami criminal defense lawyers at Jacobs Keeley at (305) 358-7991 for a free consultation on your pending criminal matter.
FBI: Murders Up Nearly 11 Percent In 2015; Violent Crime Rose Slightly, Sept. 26, 2016, By Carrie Johnson, NPR
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