The year-to-year increase in murders from 2019 was the largest since national record-keeping began in 1960. But overall, major crimes declined last year.
The United States experienced its biggest one-year increase on record in murders in 2020, according to new figures released Monday by the F.B.I., with some cities hitting record highs.
Although major crimes were down overall, an additional 4,901 murders were committed in 2020 compared with the year before, the largest leap since national records started in 1960. The significant rise in homicides has roughly coincided with the 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overall, the toll of some 21,500 people killed last year is still well below the record set during the violence of the early 1990s. Still, several cities, like Albuquerque, Memphis, Milwaukee and Des Moines, are recording their highest murder numbers ever, according to the report.
There is no simple explanation for the steep rise. A number of key factors are driving the violence, including the economic and social toll taken by the pandemic and a sharp increase in gun purchases.