Using a combination of official police data and local media reports, I was able to collect murder counts through at least November 2016 for 73 of the 83 U.S. cities with populations above 250,000, and partial data for all but one of the rest.
This year’s rise appears slightly smaller than last year’s dramatic increase. The big cities experienced roughly a 11.3 percent increase in murder in 2016, which is down from the same group’s 14.8 percent increase from 2014 to 2015.
Chicago has gotten the headlines, and the Windy City’s 59 percent increase in murder accounted for fully 40 percent of the rise in murder among big cities. But Chicago was not the only big city to experience an alarming jump in murders in 2016.
Among the notable rises outside of Chicago were increases of 56 percent in Memphis, 61 percent in San Antonio, 44 percent in Louisville, 36 percent in Phoenix and 31 percent in Las Vegas. Taken together, those six cities accounted for 76 percent of the overall big city murder rise in 2016.
In all there were six big cities — Louisville, Kentucky; Memphis, Tennessee; Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Durham, North Carolina; and Indianapolis — that appear to have set records for highest murder counts in one year dating back to 1960. …
Orlando’s murder total is complicated because of the 49 people who were killed in the Pulse nightclub attack there in June. Counting those deaths, the city saw a 169 percent increase in murder in 2016 — from 32 murders in 2015 to 86 in 2016. Without them, Orlando saw a much more modest 16 percent increase, to 37 murders. The attack also makes a meaningful difference in the broader nationwide increase: Including the Pulse killings would boost the big-city murder count by nearly a percentage point.
… St. Louis likely remained the national murder capital of the United States based on murder rate, with nearly 60 murders per 100,000 residents. St. Louis has had the country’s highest murder rate each year since 2014. Baltimore likely had the country’s second-highest murder rate for the second-consecutive year with roughly 52 murders per 100,000 residents,
with Detroit, New Orleans and Cleveland probably rounding out the top five. The table below shows the top 10 big cities in terms of estimated murder rate calculated using the FBI’s 2015 population totals for each city. This kind of cross-city comparison can be tricky, however, because cities draw their borders differently: St. Louis and Baltimore, for example, include only a relatively small geographic area around their downtowns, while cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles include large suburban areas within their borders.
Chicago made national headlines this year by eclipsing 750 murders for the first time since the 1990s. Chicago had the most murders of any U.S. city in 2016, but the city’s murder rate of roughly 28 per 100,000 residents likely “only” ranked 8th. Chicago’s rate jumped by about 10 murders per 100,000 people between 2015 and 2016, so Chicago joined Memphis as the only cities with a double-digit increase in murder rate in 2016.
If past patterns hold, the 11 percent increase in big-city murders implies that total murders likely rose about 8 percent nationwide in 2016. That would correspond to a national murder rate at roughly 5.3 per 100,000. That would represent a meaningful increase from 2014, when the murder rate fell to 4.4,
As we all know, Obama personally pioneered several new life saving emergency surgical techniques while he was in the White House, so he deserves credit for the decades-long trend toward more attempted murder victims surviving.
In other news, the state of California is hiring former attorney general Eric Holder, following his bang-up job at inciting blacks to kill each other in even higher numbers than normal, to sue Donald Trump.