In the first quarter of 2021, homicides increased by 24% in the largest US cities compared to the first three months of 2020.
At a party, in front of a bar, at a concert … dozens of people were gunned down this weekend in the United States, where the murders remain at their highest, when Americans regain a taste for deconfined life.
With a 30% increase in homicides in the country’s major cities, the year 2020 was one of the deadliest for a quarter of a century, under the effect of several factors.
“It was a mixture of explosive situations with the pandemic, a loss of legitimacy of the police, a great economic stress, all combined with an accelerating element: record levels of possession of firearms”, explains Jeff Asher, a former CIA agent turned criminal statistics analyst.
But “mobility has returned” thanks to the mass vaccination campaign, the economy picks up and the demonstrations following the death of African-American George Floyd have subsided, allowing the police to return to their classic missions, note- he does.
Despite everything, the situation is not improving, far from it.
There was still a 24% increase in homicides in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first three months of 2020, according to a study by the Council on criminal justice (CCJ) of 34 of the largest cities in the country. “This increase, higher than the seasonal normal, is extremely disturbing”, underline its authors.
It still seems to have worsened in recent days, with the arrival of good weather and the increase in outdoor events thanks to the lifting of the latest containment measures.
“Every day, over 100 people die and over 230 are injured by guns. The shootings this weekend add to this plague, ”commented the organizations Everytown and Moms Demand Action, which campaign for better regulation of firearms.
More than a dozen people were killed from Friday to Sunday in Chicago alone, including a fifteen-year-old boy shot dead on his porch and others in parks.
No city spared
In South Carolina, a 14-year-old girl died during an underground outdoor concert, where an altercation escalated into a shootout under unclear circumstances.
“My heart is broken at the idea of no longer receiving ‘I love you Papa’ by SMS,” his father Ronald Smith said Monday in an open letter published by local media.
“The deadly shootings are not limited to slums.” Violence and / or ignorance is not concentrated in one place or in some communities, ”he added.
In fact, the rise in homicides, unprecedented since the mid-1990s, has spared no city. Large and small, Democrats or Republicans, all have been affected, notes Mr. Asher.