The number of murders continues to decrease
At the start of the year, crime trends in the US looked dire: Murders spiked at a record rate in 2020 and will rise further in 2021.
But now that the year is coming to an end, it is clear that the violence has abated.
According to research firm AH Datalytics, homicides in major US cities are down more than 5% through 2022 compared with the same time last year. Gun deaths, injuries and mass shootings also fell this year.
What happened? To regular readers of this newsletter, the explanations may be familiar: The cause of the murder spike has subsided.
Covid has disrupted much of life in 2020 and 2021, including social services that help keep people safe. That applies not just to the police, but to places like schools and addiction treatment facilities that can help people — especially young men, the more common perpetrators and victims of violent crime — stay out of trouble. As life slowly returned to normal, these programs reopened and helped prevent murders and shootings.
We also distance ourselves from the 2020 murder of George Floyd, an event that not only sparked widespread protests but also strained police-community trust across the United States.
How does the fallout from the horror of Floyd’s death relate to murderous tendencies? Because those tensions between the police and the community can reduce the effectiveness of law enforcement, for example making people more skeptical about cooperating with the police and making officers too cautious. important in fighting crime. And public distrust of the police may have led many to resolve conflicts by their own means, including violence, rather than through the justice system. The passage of time and efforts to mend trust have lessened those effects.
There is also a more abstract explanation: Covid, Floyd’s death, the 2020 election, the January 6 attacks and other events that have thrown the past few years into chaos, making damage social cohesion and trust in institutions. Some experts suggest that this type of irregularity could lead to more crime and violence. But at least part of that has eased along with the pandemic and the protests.
Add it all up, and Americans are a little safer now from murders and shootings than they were last year.
Bad news trend
The drop in homicides is indeed good news – the kind of news that often goes unreported. Think how many headlines you’ve seen about the rise in homicides compared to stories about the decline that followed.
That gap demonstrates another point that regular readers of this newsletter will be familiar with: The news media tends to favor bad news. Some of that was driven by the journalists’ decisions, hence the old cliché that if it bleeds, it will lead. Studies also show that negative things attract a larger audience, so to some extent, journalists give readers what they want.
That bias distorts people’s perception of the world. As the rate of murders and other crimes plummeted from the 1990s to the mid-2010s, news outlets regularly reported shocking individual crimes, and most Americans told Gallup that criminals is on an increasing trend. (Most Americans still say crime is on the rise.)
There are still reasons to be cautious. Data from this year suggests that other types of crime, aside from homicides and shootings, may have increased by 2022. Homicides are still higher than in 2019. And possibly reported trends. in major cities do not apply to the entire country (although they do in recent years).
But the data we have shows the country’s homicide and shooting rates are on the right track. As the year draws to a close, you can celebrate some good news.
Dallas survived the Tennessee trap: The Cowboys beat the Titans, 27-13, last night to claim their second straight season by at least 12 wins. Tennessee’s first-time starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs has given the team hope for next week’s game against the Jaguars.
ARTS AND IDEAS
A parody of ‘Titanic’
In the nearly 24 years since the release of the epic blockbuster “Titanic,” its appeal has remained unchanged. This year, “Titanique,” a 100-minute Off Broadway musical set to songs by Celine Dion, attracted a large following.
“Titanique” premieres in June in New York and combines improvisation and fourth-wall-breaking strategy. Through word of mouth and a passionate social media following, the show has consistently sold out, writes Sarah Bahr of The Times. The musical announced its third expansion last week.
“People feel like they are part of something special every night,” says Constantine Rousouli, co-writer of the musical, who also plays the romantic male lead, Jack.