By Alexander Pleitez
WASHINGTON DC – During the first half of 2021, major American cities found that murder counts continued to rise with a somewhat slowed pace from the first to the second quarter of the year.
In response, the Council of Criminal Justice (CCJ) launched the Violent Crime Working Group to study crime data in big American cities and brainstorm possible solutions.
In the examination of 22 cities, the CCJ took reports of all types of crimes and found that there was a 16 percent increase in the number of murders when compared to 2020 with the loss of 259 lives. When compared to 2019, this number is even more staggering with a 42 percent increase and an additional 548 lost lives.
The current violent crime rates for the examined cities mirrored approximately half of the violent crime rates reached in the early 1990s when crimes such as these were at their peak.
The authors of the aforementioned study called for “urgent action” and, in response, a new CCJ panel was created to investigate the underlying issues leading to rising violent crime rates and provide solutions by examining and translating boatloads of evidence into “effective policy and practice.”
The chairman of the new group stated “The recent rise in homicide has added urgency to our efforts to bring peace to our cities”
Launching this week is the Violent Crime Working Group, including 15 members from community violence intervention organizations, law enforcement, the public health sector, and academia, with the chairman being violence-reduction expert Thomas Abt.
“The Council is grateful for this diverse group of experts who have dedicated themselves to this project, and I firmly believe our collaboration can produce solutions that can make a difference now,” says Abt.
The Group intends to address the most pressing questions related to the increase of violent crime and productive solutions. So far it has looked into a number of topics including “de-policing,” “de-legitimizing” and the increase of firearm purchases.
The Group also intends to use “community-based strategies” for reducing gun violence, aiding early prevention efforts that target at-risk youth and families in addition to altering law-enforcement approaches to different situations.
The findings, conclusions, and data will be summarized in regular bulletins and through periodic public web events
In additional information, gun assaults were up five percent, aggravated assault was up nine percent and Motor Vehicle theft rates have increased 21 percent when compared to 2020.
In addition, domestic violence rates have been a common topic when covering an increase in crime rates since the pandemic’s lockdown orders. DV rates have increased 8.1 percent with 1,330 more domestic violence calls for service per day across the states.
Despite this increase in violent offenses, rates of other major offenses diminished in the first half of 2021.
Both robbery and larceny saw a decrease of six percent, both residential burglary, and nonresidential burglary decreased by nine percent, and drug offenses decreased by an astounding 12 percent.
All noted numbers come from a study conducted by criminologist and Professor Emeritus Richard Rosenfeld and CCJ Research Specialist Ernesto Lopez which update a series of earlier reports through the end of June 2021 by examining crime rates for 10 offenses in 29 cities. Note that not all cities reported on all offenses.