In the first few months of the pandemic, many people flocked to gun shops based on concerns that the economic and social upheaval caused by COVID-19 shutdowns would increase crime. Sadly, those fears ended up being justified, as a well-documented surge in murder has swept the nation the past two years.
According to the FBI, homicides in the United States increased by an astonishing 30 percent from 2019 to 2020, the largest single-year increase ever. The FBI has yet to release information for 2021, but we know from data in major cities that while the increase has fortunately slowed, homicide continued its rise in 2021.
This surge was most pronounced in major cities. Los Angeles, for example, saw 350 people killed in homicides in 2020, a 36 percent increase from 2019. In 2021, that grim figure rose to 397, an additional 13.5% jump from 2020’s already-high total.
Philadelphia, though, is an interesting case study of a city dealing with the same problems Los Angeles is, but with a new pro-gun variable thrown in. To their credit, the Philadelphia police department keeps superb records of their crime data and makes that data public with weekly updates, making the city ideal for tracking changes in murder over time.