Friday, March 24, 2023

America's murder surge continued in 2021, updated crime data show

The historic surge in U.S. homicides which began immediately after the murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd in 2020 continued into 2021, according to crime data provided by the FBI and augmented by the nonprofit Murder Accountability Project (MAP). 

The Uniform Crime Report (UCR), the official accounting of crime in America, showed more than a 28 percent increase in homicides from 2019 to 2020, the largest one-year surge in the history of the federal reporting program. That surge seemed to dissipate in 2021 according to data the FBI received, but this was due to declining participation by local police following mandatory adoption of the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) which seeks to improve the amount of reported detail of criminal activity. Only about 57 percent of the nation's murders were reported to the Bureau in 2021.

MAP issued dozens of Freedom of Information Act and Open Records Act requests to non-reporting states and local police agencies for missing 2021 data. MAP added more than 6,000 homicide records to the UCR's Summary Reporting System (visible at the "Clearance Rate" tab) and more than 5,300 case files to the Supplemental Homicide Report (visible at the "Search Cases" tab). 

MAP's Board of Directors has updated data acquisition policies for the organization. Crime data can only be accepted from the FBI, state law enforcement organizations or local police. The data MAP makes available for public use at the "Data and Doc" tab will clearly indicate whether data were obtained from the federal government or by MAP from state and local police not fully participating in federal crime reporting. 

"We urge all law enforcement agencies to adopt the superior NIBRS standard for crime reporting. This is an investment in robust accounting of crime that will help policy makers and local leaders to make wise decisions to assist law enforcement," said MAP Chairman Thomas Hargrove. "We also urge state and local leaders to support our efforts to obtain crime data under the old reporting standards until all law enforcement becomes NIBRS compliant."