Homicides spike in major cities

Homicide rates in many major cities have spiked during the first half of 2015. Although homicides in most urban areas have been steadily declining since the early 1990s, there has been an unusual amount of murders this year in cities such as Milwaukee, Chicago, Baltimore, New Orleans and St. Louis.

“Homicides in St. Louis, for example, are up almost 60% from last year while robberies are up 40%. In Washington, D.C., 73 people have been killed so far this year, up from 62 last year, an 18% jump. In Milwaukee, murders have doubled since last year, while in nearby Chicago homicides have jumped almost 20%,” said an article in The Times.

Anaylists have different opinions about what is causing the increased violence. Some point to specific examples to explain a certain city’s problem.

ÈIn Milwaukee, officials say they’re dealing with lax gun laws in the state, while Chicago officials blame criminals who are buying guns in states like Wisconsin and Indiana–two states with fewer firearm restrictions–and using them in criminal acts in the city,” The Times article continued.

Others blame the “Ferguson effect” for inciting unrest that leads to violence and a sense of lawlessness.

“But there could be something else going on, what some officials have called a “Ferguson effect,” in which criminals who are angry over police-involved shootings like that of Michael Brown … have felt emboldened to commit increased acts of violence,” The Times article went on to say.

Regardless, experts advise caution before making broad assumptions. There is the possibility that the numbers represent nothing more than an aberration and will fall back down to expected levels this year.

[USA Today] [Time] [Image via Scott Olson/Getty Images ]