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December 19, 2023

Council on Criminal Justice releases new report, "Trends in Homicide: What We Know"

Via email I learned of this notable data report and analysis by the Council on Criminal Justice titled "Trends in Homicide: What We Know."  I recommend the entire reader-friendly, online report, which starts with an Introduction and Highlights.  Here is the starting text:


The Council on Criminal Justice’s mid-year crime trends report found that murders in 30 large American cities declined by 9.4% in the first half of 2023 compared to the first half of 2022.  If this trend continues through the end of 2023, the nation will have experienced one of the largest single-year homicide reductions in the era of modern record keeping.  CCJ’s full report on trends in homicide and other crimes will be released in January.

This brief, prepared for CCJ’s Crime Trends Working Group, explores data on homicide from multiple sources. It examines victimization by age, race, and sex, as well as changes in arrests, clearance rates, the victim-offender relationship, and other key measures.  Drawing on Working Group presentations and conversations, the brief also explores possible explanations for the rise in homicide seen during the height of the pandemic and social justice protests of mid-2020, and, in most cities, its subsequent decline.

The recent decrease in murders is encouraging.  But far more can and must be done to achieve lasting reductions in homicide and other violent crime.  Government agencies and community organizations are testing myriad approaches. CCJ’s Task Force on Policing and Violent Crime Working Group highlighted numerous evidence-based strategies and reforms to improve law enforcement, increase police collaboration with community organizations, and strengthen the overall effectiveness of violence reduction efforts.  Multiple jurisdictions have drawn on this guidance.  And, in December, the U.S. Department of Justice released a violence reduction “roadmap” based on the Ten Essential Actions framework produced by the Violent Crime Working Group.  The roadmap organizes the department’s grant programs, training and technical assistance, and other resources by the ten action steps; the Police Executive Research Forum will assist jurisdictions seeking to implement the recommended strategies.


  • The U.S. homicide rate began to trend upward in 2015 after a long-running decline.  After reaching a peak in 2021, it remained 24% higher in a sampling of 30 cities in the first half of 2023 than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • People aged 15 to 19 years old were three times more likely to die by homicide in 2020-2021 than in 1960.

  • Black males were eight times more likely and Black females were four times more likely to die by homicide in 2020-2021 than their White counterparts.

  • Arrests of Black adults for homicide dropped 65% from 1980 to 2020, but Black people were six times more likely to be arrested for homicide in 2020 than White people.

  • Since 2020, more than three-quarters of homicides have been committed with guns. This marks an increase from 1980 to 1990, when firearms were used in fewer than two-thirds of reported homicides.

  • The homicide clearance rate has dropped steadily since the 1960s. In 2022, the clearance rate was about 50%, meaning that just half of murders resulted in an arrest and fewer than half resulted in a conviction.

December 19, 2023 at 09:19 AM | Permalink


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