Thursday Feb 03 2022

America's alarming crime statistics

A vigil for the victims of a shooting in San Jose, California, on 27 May 2021. AFP
A vigil for the victims of a shooting in San Jose, California, on 27 May 2021. AFP 

WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden will travel to New York City Thursday for discussions on how to address a nationwide crime wave, which has exploded during the pandemic.

Here are some interesting figures about the state of crime in the United States:

- 59 homicides per day -

According to the most recent data released by the FBI, the United States registered more than 21,500 homicides in 2020, or about 59 per day.

That number represents a 30 percent increase over the prior year, the biggest annual increase since federal record-keeping began.

"After a year of record-setting bloodshed in American streets, violent crime is forcing too many to live in fear," said Mitch McConnell, the lead Republican in the Senate.

The homicide rate continued to rise in 2021, although at a much slower five percent, according to partial data collected by the think tank Council on Criminal Justice.

- Black victims disproportionately high -

Not all police records contain the ethnicity of victims, but based on cases reported to the FBI in 2020, almost 10,000 homicides were of African Americans -- or about half of all killings.

Black Americans represent only 12 percent of the overall population, so the homicide rate is about four times higher than if the deaths were evenly distributed.

- Six times higher than Europe -

The US homicide rate in 2020 rose to 6.5 per 100,000 people -- notably higher than other rich countries.

According to World Bank data, the rate is one per 100,000 in France, Germany and Australia, while Canada was at two per 100,000.

- Memphis's somber record -

Chicago -- the third-largest city in the country -- had the highest total number of homicides last year at 836.

However, it was Memphis, in the southern state of Tennessee, which took home the bleak record of highest homicide rate: 2.352 per 100,000 residents.

- Two years, 43 million firearms sold -

In America, three-quarters of all homicides are committed with guns, and the number of pistols, revolvers and other firearms sold continues to rise.

More than 23 million guns were sold in 2020 -- a record -- and another 20 million in 2021, according to data compiled by website Small Arms Analytics.

That number does not include "ghost" guns, which are sold disassembled, lack serial numbers, and are highly prized in criminal circles.

In June 2021, 30 percent of American adults said they owned at least one gun, according to a Pew survey.