D.C., Chicago, and Baltimore Account For Majority of Rise in Murders Last Year

Three big cities see huge spike in homocides

AP

Three major cities accounted for more than half of the rise in the national murder rate between 2014 and 2015, a new report shows.

Though overall crime rates were stagnant in America's 30 largest cities the murder rate rose 13.3 percent, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice.  The violent crime rate also rose by 3.1% in those major cities, lead by increases in Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Charlotte.

Three cities were also mainly responsible for the rise in murders. "Final data confirm that three cities (Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.) account for more than half (244) of the national increase in murders," the report said.

"Final data confirm that three cities (Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.) account for more than half (244) of the national increase in murders," the report said.

The researchers cautioned that the increase in the murder rate was not necessarily a sign of a further increase in violent crime.

"While this suggests cause for concern in some cities, murder rates vary widely from year to year, and there is little evidence of a national coming wave in violent crime," the study said. "These serious increases seem to be localized, rather than part of a national pandemic, suggesting that community conditions remain the major factor. Notably, these three cities all seem to have falling populations, higher poverty rates, and higher unemployment than the national average. This implies that economic deterioration of these cities could be a contributor to murder increases."

In fact, the researchers found that the national crime rate remained near all-time lows. They said it was only a handful of cities that saw an uptick in crime and murder.

"The data analyzed in this update support the initial report’s conclusion that Americans continue to experience low crime rates," the report said. "The average person in a large urban area is safer walking down the street today than he or she would have been at almost any time in the past 30 years."

"That does not mean there is not variation across cities. In some cities, murder is up. However, there is not yet sufficient evidence to conclude these levels will persist in the future or are part of a national trend."