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September 25, 2023

As summer ends, biggest US cities all still showing significant homicide declines

Summer is now officially over, and I am pleased to see that homicide data for 2023 remains encouraging.  As readers may recall from some of my prior posts, I have been flagging 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 first half 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 continue to find the nationwide city homicide data to be encouraging, and now we have this data for almost three quarters of 2023.

Specifically, As we enter Fall 2023, according to this AH Datalytics webpage, there is now over a 12% cumulative decline in murders across the nation's largest cities.  And, as I have noted in some prior posts, the news is especially encouraging if we look at updated police reports showing 2023 homicide trends in our very biggest US cities (by population):

Chicago homicides down 14% in 2022, and down another 12% over the nine months of 2023

Houston homicides down 9% in 2022, and down another 20% over the eight months of 2023

Los Angeles homicides down 5% in 2022, and down another 25% over nine months of 2023

New York City homicides down 11% in 2022, and down another 11% over nine months of 2023

Philadelphia homicides down 8% in 2022, and down another 19% over nine 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 be trending back toward pre-pandemic norms. 

Still, there is clearly a very long way to go before we return to the historically low homicide (and overall crime) rates of the early 2010s.  Indeed, the recent BJS report (discussed here) delivered some sobering news about (non-homicide) violent victimization in 2022, although the Council of Criminal Justice (discussed here) had more encouraging news on violent crime in 2022 based on different metrics.  I am hoping that encouraging crime trends are real and that they persist, but time will tell.

September 25, 2023 at 07:55 PM | Permalink


I'm confident homicides and violent crime overall with decline over the coming year. I attribute the spike in homicides from 2020-2021 to the shutdown of institutions during the Pandemic that left people scared, angry or in a state of economic precarity. Conservatives hoped (prayed?) for a crime wave which never came in order to reinstate 90s era tough-on-crime policies. Organizations aimed towards criminal justice reform have a chance to lobby for progressive legislation as public fears of rising crime diminish.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 25, 2023 11:29:33 PM


We did get the crime wave. Violent crime has increased.


Posted by: TarlsQtr | Sep 26, 2023 1:27:14 AM

I agree with Anon that the homicide spike was the result of pandemic-era policies. I've got to take exception with the generalization about "conservatives", however.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Sep 26, 2023 9:20:26 PM

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