Right now, the media is downplaying America’s surging homicide rates by saying, “it was still much worse in the 90s.” If you search corporate media articles about homicide, you will find this claim repeatedly. The media is also blaming “the pandemic,” but never shows any objective evidence.
The two biggest reasons for the decline in homicides rates after the so-called “crack wars” of the 90s, was an increasing average age and the embrace of tough-on-crime policies at the city, state, and federal levels. From 1990 to 2010, the average age increased 5.3 years, from 32.9 to 37.2. Today the average age is 38.4. A higher average age generally corresponds to lower violent crime rates, especially homicides. Most people who commit homicide do so at a young age.
While the average age is still high, many US cities and states have wholly reversed their tough-on-crime policies.
New all time record homicide rates in 2021:
1991: 139 (641k, 21.7 per 100k) former record for highest rate
2020: 175, (906k, 19.3 per 100k)
2021 202, (917k, 22.0 per 100k) new record for highest number and highest rate
1980: 60 (355k, 16.9 per 100k) former record for highest number and highest rate
2007: 13 (317k, 4.1 per 100k) lowest number of homicides since early 60s
2019: 35 (273k, 12.8 per 100k)
2020: 61 (271k, 22.5 per 100k)
2021: 68 (269k, 25.3 per 100k) new record for highest number and highest rate
Second highest homicide rate in the city’s history:
1971: 81 (453k, 17.8 per 100k) former all time records for number and rate of homicides
1995: 50 (348k, 14.4 per 100k) worst spike in the 90s
2020: 94 (306k, 30.7 per 100k) new record for the highest number and rate
2021: 92 (307k, 30 per 100k) second highest rate in the city’s history
In 2020, Cincinnati beat its all-time total homicide record set in 1971, despite having a significantly smaller population. Cincinnati is also experiencing a homicide rate far higher than what the city experienced in the 90s. For the first six months of 2021, homicides in Cincinnati were down compared to the same time period in 2020, but still very high relative to the city’s history.
Cleveland, Ohio set a new record for the highest homicide rate ever in 2020. This came down slightly in 2021, but homicides in the suburbs of Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, Parma and Warrensville Heights surged in 2021.
Suburban Cuyahoga County had 71 homicides in 2021 versus 48 in 2020.
1982: 195 (582k, 33.5 per 100k)
2019: 118 (383k, 30.8 per 100k)`
2020: 175 (379k, 46.2 per 100k) highest rate in the city’s history
2021: 170 (377k, 45.1 per 100k) second highest rate in the city’s history
1974: 48 ( 260k, 18.5 per 100k) former record for total and rate
2017: 42 (193k, 21.2 per 100k) new record set for homicide rate
2019: 33 (192k, 16.7 per 100k)
2020: 55 (191k, 28.8 per 100k) new record set for homicide rate
2021: 42 (190k, 22.1 per 100k) second highest rate in the city’s history