Murder in 2020 spiked 29.4 percent over the figure for 2019, and violent crime was up overall last year by 5.6 percent, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, released Monday.
Last year saw an estimated 17,754 slayings, up from the 14,391 reported for 2019. Once again, the number of rifles used in homicides accounts for a fraction of all gun-related murders. In 2020 according to the data, 454 rifles were identified as the murder weapon out of the 13,620 gun-related homicides. Another 203 involved shotguns, the data says. In 4,946 cases, the type of firearm used was not identified.
While anti-gunners will possibly seize on this data to correlate the number of criminal homicides to the spike in gun sales last year, there is no information that would lead to such a conclusion. It could just as easily be argued—and perhaps with more credibility—that defunding police agencies and reducing the number of police officers on the street may have been just as responsible because there was less ability to respond to emergency calls.
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More than 1,700 victims died as the result of knife wounds or other cutting instruments. Another 392 were killed with “blunt objects” such as hammers or clubs, and 655 were killed with hands or feet, the FBI report said.
Last year, an estimated 7.5 to 8 million Americans bought guns for the first time, suggesting more people were suddenly taking responsibility for their own safety. The COVID-19 pandemic panic combined with a summer of often violent and occasionally deadly protests following the death of George Floyd while being restrained by police in Minneapolis provided incentives to all of those people to become new gun owners.
According to the FBI, 15,897 agencies—out of a total 18,619 eligible agencies—submitted data to the UCR program in 2020.
Also according to the FBI, “The 2020 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 387.8 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the estimated rate of property crime was 1,958.2 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate rose 5.2 percent when compared with the 2019 rate; the property crime rate declined 8.1 percent.”
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