Did violent crime increase in the US in 2021?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
By Lisa Freedland

Violent crime did increase in 2021 under Democratic president Biden, but at a slower pace than in 2020, when Republican president Trump was still in office. Pew posits the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to policing after the George Floyd protests as two hypotheses for the spike.

Based on crime data from 22 major U.S. cities, the Council on Criminal Justice found that the country's homicide rate was up 5% from 2020 and 44% from 2019. Additionally, gun assaults rose 8% and aggravated assaults were up 4% compared to 2020 levels, while robberies remained virtually unchanged.

In contrast, non-violent crimes, such as property and drug offenses, dropped in 2021. However, drug overdoses broke records in 2021, suggesting that while drug arrests declined, drug use had not.

Violent crime rates are still significantly lower than in the past: using FBI data, Pew reported that the violent crime rate fell 49% between 1993 and 2019.

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