It’s a trend police departments have noted from East Coast to West, even as other violent crimes such as aggravated assault and non-violent crimes such as burglary decline in the same areas.
“It’s definitely worse this year, for us at least,” Rochester Police Department Public Information Officer Carlos Alvarado told Fox News Digital of the upstate New York city’s homicide numbers for 2021.
Rochester had seen a record 80 homicide deaths in 2021 as of Tuesday. The city’s previous record was 69 in 1991, Alvarado said, adding that the number will “easily” be higher than 80 before the new year.
But Rochester isn’t alone. At least 15 other cities have experienced record homicide rates this year, including some cities that surpassed their record-setting years of 2020.
1. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Homicides in 2021: At least 107.
Previous record: 93 in 2019.
The Albuquerque Police Department did not respond to inquiries from Fox News, but the city’s homicide numbers from 2018 are listed on its website. The 2021 number is “easily a record” for the city, according to the Santa Fe-New Mexican.
2. Atlanta, Georgia
Homicides in 2021: At least 150.
Previous record: 145 in 2020.
3. Austin, Texas
Homicides in 2021: At least 88.
Previous record: 59 in 1984
4. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Homicides in 2021: At least 115 (unofficial).
Previous record: 110 in 2020.
5. Columbus, Ohio
Homicides in 2021: At least 179.
Previous record: 177 in 2020.
The Columbus Police Department did not respond to inquiries from Fox News, but The Columbus Dispatch reported on Nov. 24 that the 179 homicides recorded so far in 2021 make this year the “deadliest” on record.
6. Indianapolis, Indiana
Homicides in 2021: At least 258.
Previous record: 233 in 2020.
7. Jackson, Mississippi
Homicides in 2021: At least 129.
Previous record: 128 in 2020.
The Jackson Police Department did not respond to inquiries from Fox News, but WLBT reported on Nov. 29 that the city’s 129 homicides this year surpass the last records of 128 homicides in 2020.
8. Louisville, Kentucky
Homicides in 2021: At least 179.
Previous record: 111 in 2016.
9. Macon, Georgia
Homicides in 2021: At least 52.
Previous record: 48 in 1992.
10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Homicides in 2021: At least 190.
Previous record: 186 in 2020.
11. New Haven, Connecticut
Homicides in 2021: At least 25.
Previous record: 23 in 2011.
The New Haven Police Department did not confirm records earlier than 2018, but the last record appears to have been 23 homicides in 2011, according to the New Haven Register.
12. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Homicides in 2021: At least 524.
Pevious record: 500 in 1990.
13. Portland, Oregon
Homicides in 2021: At least 84.
Previous record: 70 homicides in 1987.
14. Rochester, New York
Homicides in 2021: At least 80.
Previous record: 69 in 1991.
15. St. Paul, Minnesota
Homicides in 2021: At least 35.
Previous record: 34 in 1992.
16. Tucson, Arizona
Homicides in 2021: At least 92.
Previous record: 79 in 2008.
Other cities like Houston, Texas; Oakland, California; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Memphis, are also nearing record homicide highs in 2021.
Houston has reported 456 murders this year, nine fewer than its record of 465 in 1992. Oakland has reached 131 homicides this year; its record stands at 148 in 2006.
Lisa Dadio, a former lieutenant from the New Haven Police Department and assistant dean and director of the Center for Advanced Policing at the University of New Haven, says experts initially linked rising violent crime in 2020 to the pandemic. But as the deadly violence has persisted into 2021, experts are looking deeper for more answers.
“When [crime] started spiking, myself and many others thought it had to do with the pandemic,” Dadio said. “People were cooped up and lost jobs and … the psychological toll that the pandemic had on everybody — everybody was affected. … And I definitely think that that’s a piece of it, but I think we’re at that point now where it’s much bigger than that.”
In Connecticut, life has gone back to “quasi-normal” after the pandemic, but violent crime is “continuing,” Dadio said.
“In fact, in many ways, certain things have skyrocketed. People seem to be less tolerant and less patient and are becoming more aggressive — whether it’s driving on the road or checking out at a store. I think it comes back to kind of what we all felt for such a long time with the pandemic,” she said.
She added that the areas where a lot of violent crime is rising “tend to be pretty sequestered to a particular part of” a city, where neighborhood conflict is more frequent and often “has to do with narcotics.”
On top of those issues, the pandemic has taken a big toll on the criminal justice system in general, with backlogged criminal cases, reduced prison populations, remote court appearances and reduced sentences.
“They’re letting people go,” Dadio explained, “because of the pandemic and staffing and … it’s such a complicated system that it’s not just the crimes being committed. … Every process is so delayed now. So, you have people who have been arrested for offenses that are still out there because their case hasn’t been adjudicated yet. I’m not saying that they should or should not be incarcerated, but they need due process.”