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May 28, 2023

Start-of-summer update on the relatively good homicide news from cities in first half of 2023

In this post from early April 2023, I flagged the AH Datalytics collection of homicide data from police reports in nearly 100 big cities to note that, after significant increases in homicides throughout the US in 2020 and 2021, homicide declines in 2022 were continuing into the start of 2023.  Of course, homicide declines for 2022 followed particularly high homicide rates in many locales in 2021, and we still have a way to go to get back to pre-pandemic homicide levels.  Still, I found the nationwide city homicide data to be encouraging for 2022 and early 2023, and now we have even more data suggesting positive recent homicide trends are continuing and perhaps even accelerating across big cities. 

As we head into the unofficial start of the summer months, according to this AH Datalytics webpage, there is now so far cumulative 12% decline in murders across the nation's cities for more than the first third of 2023.   And, as I have done in some prior recent posts on homicide rates, I find it interesting (and now encouraging) to took a closer look at a updated police reports showing 2023 homicide trends in our very biggest US cities: 

Chicago homicides down 14% in 2022, and down another 7% over nearly five months of 2023

Houston homicides down 9% in 2022, and down another 28% over the first fourth months of 2023

Los Angeles homicides down 5% in 2022, and down another 28% over nearly five months of 2023

New York City homicides down 11% in 2022, and down another 13% in first three+ months of 2023

Philadelphia homicides down 9% in 2022, and down another 15% over first five months of 2023

As I have said before, these homicide data from cities are likely not fully representative of what may be going on with homicides nationwide, and homicide trends always seem to be unpredictable and data can change in lots of ways in coming months.  Still, the latest nationwide homicide data from the AH Datalytics webpage continue to reinforce my hope that the surging number of homicides in just about every part of the US through 2020 and 2021 were mostly a pandemic era phenomenon and that homicide rates may nor be trending back toward pre-pandemic norms.

May 28, 2023 at 05:28 PM | Permalink


Homicides are way down here in Lexington, Kentucky. There were 0 homicides in January 2023, compared to 7 homicides in January 2022. So far, we now have 9 homicides during the first 4 months of 2023, compared to about 15 in 2022's first 4 months. The city and the churches have been working to steer young men away from guns and violence, and it seems to be working. A private foundation is working to match young black men whose fathers are away in prison with mentors and surrogate fathers. Last night's shooting homicide here was disturbing, however. A man in his 30s was shot dead at the intersection of West short Street and North Limestone Street about 2:40 a.m. This location is in the middle of the restaurant and bar district, and is also across the street from both the District and Circuit Courthouses, and 1 block from the Federal Courthouse. A suspect has been arrested, but so far there is no public explanation of the crime. About a month ago, a 19-year old with a gun tried to steal the pistol from the belt of a 16-year old, who resisted, in a public park. Shots were fired, and two 19-year olds were wounded. The 19-year old aggressor was shot and wounded by the 16-year old, who died from a gunshot fired by the 19-year old -- who is not charged with 1st degree robbery, murder, and possession of heroin and possession of meth. Too many of our shootings involve relatively young men and drugs and/or gang activity. For those not involved in the drug business (or trying to rob a drug dealer) and not involved in a gang, the odds of being shot here are almost 0%. Exceptions are 1-3 domestic violence homicides per year.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | May 28, 2023 5:46:05 PM

In recent years, Lexington has experienced the following numbers of homcides:30 in 2019, 34 in 2020, 37 in 2021 and 43 in 2022. By contrast, Louisville, Kentucky had more than 173 homicides in 2022.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | May 28, 2023 5:52:46 PM

These are encouraging figures and I hope homicides continue to drop for the remainder of the year. I too think the homicide spike in 2020-2021 occurred due to the Pandemic and institutions closed, unemployment increased and people grew angry and scared of the perceived "new normal." Homicide rates will drop eventually drop to pre-Pandemic levels though.

Posted by: Anon | May 28, 2023 11:15:23 PM

Tangential issue, but Eighth Circuit issued a Second Amendment opinion on felon in possession laws -- U.S. v. Jackson, Case Number 22-2870 (https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/23/06/222870P.pdf) rejecting a Second Amendment claim by an individual with prior convictions for sale of a controlled substance.

Posted by: tmm | Jun 2, 2023 12:52:16 PM

Saw that, tmm, was planning to post when back at desk later today

Posted by: Doug B | Jun 2, 2023 3:24:29 PM

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