The great US murder divide

It’s a deadly place, the US. At least, it is for some.

In 2015 the total number of murders went up by almost 11% year-on-year, the highest annual increase since 1971, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

And it’s reckoned that the 2016 murder rate will go up again, by a whopping 13% in America’s 30 largest cities.

If that turns out to be accurate then the national murder rate will have increased 31.5% since 2014.

Approximately 1,726 more Americans were murdered in 2015 than in 2014, 1,500 of those dying by gunshots.

This murders are concentrated in poor urban areas: half the 2015 increase came from only seven cities — Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, and Washington DC.

Half of the 31.5% in murders between 2014 and 2016 were in Baltimore, Chicago, and Houston.

So for example in Chicago in 2015 there were 488 murders, the biggest number in the whole US. But ten of the city’s neighborhoods had no murders at all that year.

Yet in 2015 the overall national violent-crime rate was 15.5% lower than it was in 2006.

Putting it simply; if you are poor, black, ill-educated, dependent on welfare, have a drug or alcohol problem, and happen to live in a rotten part of Baltimore, you have a good chance of encountering violence – even murder.


Picture source: Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons