Homicides Against Black Americans Increased By 1,000 Deaths In 2020

Homicides Against Black Americans Increased By 1,000 Deaths In 2020

Homicides Against Black Americans Increased By 1,000 Deaths In 2020. Photo: A funeral director collects a body at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, April 9, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Homicides against Black Americans jumped 15 percent in 2020, when the U.S. recorded one of the largest increases in homicides, according to a report by the National Commission on Covid-19 and Criminal Justice.

The jump in homicides was attributed to societal inequalities exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, strains on gun violence intervention programs and fraught relationships between police and communities, the researchers said.

Victims of these homicides were disproportionately African American, with some 8,600 Black lives lost in 2020, an increase of more than 1,000, up from 7,484 in 2019.

In a group of 34 of the biggest U.S. cities, 29 suffered as much as a 30 percent increase in homicides in 2020.

New York saw an additional 131 homicides from the previous year, an increase of 43 percent, and Chicago saw 278 more homicides, a 55 percent spike. Many smaller cities such as Louisville and Milwaukee also saw sharp increases, with 61 percent and 85 percent respectively.

“The fact that out of 34 (cities studied), 29 had increases in homicides, that’s really very striking,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist and University of Missouri St. Louis emeritus professor who is one of the study’s authors.

Data from New York City showed that 71 percent of shooting victims were Black, though Black people constitute 26 percent of the population. In Chicago, 80 percent of gun-violence victims in 2020 were Black.

The 2020 homicide rate in the cities researched was 11.4 killings per 100,000 people, much lower than in 1995, when the rate for the same cities was 19.4 per 100,000 people.

Data from the FBI, which is yet to release it’s full year homicide statistics in the U.S., showed there was a 20.9 percent increase in murders in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

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