From Princeton sociologist Patrick Sharkey on 2020 vs. 2019 murders.
Part of the story is the rise in shootings in the aftermath of the protests against police violence. Violence has risen in almost all cities from May-October, and it skyrocketed in cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, New Orleans, Louisville, St. Louis. pic.twitter.com/YCU5iUJ7JY
— Patrick Sharkey (@patrick_sharkey) November 20, 2020
The map/graphs aren’t that useful, other than that red is up in 2020, while green is down. Note there is a typo: “Jan 2019 – Oct 2020” should read “Jan 2020 – Oct 2020:”
From Sharkey’s NYT op-ed in the Good Old Days of 2018:
… But it is also worth reflecting on how much the level of violence has fallen in this country over the past 25 years and how widespread the benefits of that decline have been. From the 1970s through the early part of the 1990s, the murder rate in some cities in the United States rose to levels seen only in the most violent, war-torn nations of the developing world. In the years since, violent crime has decreased in almost every city, in many cases by more than 75 percent.
For well-off urbanites, the decline of crime is most visible in sanitized, closely guarded city spaces where tourists and others can now comfortably wander about. But far more consequential have been the changes in low-income, highly segregated urban communities. Indeed, my research has shown that the most disadvantaged people have gained the most from the reduction in violent crime.
Start with the lives saved. Though homicide is not a common cause of death for most of the United States population, for African-American men between the ages of 15 and 34 it is the leading cause, which means that any change in the homicide rate has a disproportionate impact on them. The sociologist Michael Friedson and I calculated what the life expectancy would be today for blacks and whites had the homicide rate never shifted from its level in 1991. We found that the national decline in the homicide rate since then has increased the life expectancy of black men by roughly nine months.
That figure may not seem like much, but it is exceedingly rare for any change in society to generate such a degree of change in life expectancy. For example, researchers have estimated that if the obesity epidemic in the United States was eliminated, life expectancy would increase by a similar amount. The drop in homicides is probably the most important development in the health of black men in the past several decades.
The decline in violence on city streets also occurred inside public schools, creating environments where students could learn without fear of being victimized. Analyzing statewide tests of academic achievement, I found that test scores have risen the most, and the gap in the average scores of black and white children has narrowed the most, in those areas where violence has fallen most sharply.
The drop in violent crime has led better-off families to move into poorer city neighborhoods, thus reducing the concentration of poverty in urban America. Though gentrification has become a problem in a few prominent places, in most cities there is no good evidence that poor families have been pushed out of their neighborhoods as violence has fallen. In fact, as research I conducted with the doctoral student Gerard Torrats-Espinosa shows, the crime decline has improved the prospects for upward mobility for the poorest American families.
The everyday lived experience of urban poverty has also been transformed. Analyzing rates of violent victimization over time, I found that the poorest Americans today are victimized at about the same rate as the richest Americans were at the start of the 1990s. That means that a poor, unemployed city resident walking the streets of an average city today has about the same chance of being robbed, beaten up, stabbed or shot as a well-off urbanite in 1993. Living in poverty used to mean living with the constant threat of violence. In most of the country, that is no longer true.
From Jeff Asher’s Crimealytics spreadsheet, a running tally of murders year-to-date across 59 cities, with a mean date of last update of September 18:
Milwaukee (Jacob Blake in nearby Kenosha) is up 89%, Minneapolis (George Floyd) is up 86%, and Louisville (Breonna Taylor) is up 62%.