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FBI data shows record increase in homicides, Phoenix statistically even worse

The FBI released its annual report on crime. 2020 saw homicide rates rise almost 30% in one year.

PHOENIX — According to the FBI, homicide rates rose by more than 29% nationwide in 2020 and aggravated assaults increased by around 12%. 

Overall, 2020 saw the most homicides in the United States since 1995. 

The numbers in Phoenix were even worse. Homicides in 2020 rose by nearly 44% compared to the 2019 numbers, while aggravated assaults rose by more than 24%.

The FBI included the data in its annual UCR report, which uses data from police departments around the country to give a broad view of crime throughout the country.

“It was pretty consistent throughout the U.S. not only in major cities but in moderate size cities also,” David Carter, a professor at Michigan State University, said.

Carter has worked with both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. He said that numerous factors led to the sharp one-year increase.

Nationwide, Carter said police departments had to deal with a loss of the public's trust after a summer of social justice protests following the death of George Floyd. There was also an overall shortage of police officers.

Carter said he believes it will take years to turn these numbers around, but he also mentioned new policies to help restore trust and hire more officers.

Carter said new initiatives focused on community outreach and a focus on public health have shown promising results in some areas.

The data did have some silver linings. Almost all nonviolent crimes, such as burglary, went down in 2020.

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