Crime in America

May 27, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 18
Will rising murder rates lead to tougher policies?
By Alan Greenblatt


Since 2020, the rates of homicide and other violent crimes in the United States have increased to levels not seen in many years. The causes of the increase are unclear; some argue that COVID-19 exacerbated long-standing societal problems and hampered police, while others say the advent of progressive prosecutors in several cities has allowed crime to rise. Whatever the causes, the increase in crime has led many politicians once again to take a tough-on-crime approach. This, in turn, has led some observers to worry that policies adopted in recent years to reduce prison populations and help formerly incarcerated people avoid reoffending could be in jeopardy. Still, these policies have won support from politicians in both parties. And although slogans such as “defund the police” have become politically toxic, many major cities continue to explore ways of having some police functions be handled by others — even as they increase police funding.

Photo of police diverting traffic at May 14, 2022, mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times/Kent Nishimura)
Police divert traffic around the scene of a May 14 mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., one of several in the nation that weekend. Crime rates have spiked since 2020, with some blaming the pandemic and others calling out city prosecutors for not being tough enough. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times/Kent Nishimura)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
May 27, 2022  Crime in America
Feb. 10, 2017  Forensic Science Controversies
Feb. 05, 2016  Restorative Justice
Jan. 30, 2015  Central American Gangs
Aug. 29, 2014  Transnational Crime
Aug. 09, 2013  Sexual Assault in the Military
Oct. 26, 2012  Mexico's Future
Apr. 20, 2012  Criminal Records and Employment
Apr. 19, 2011  Honor Killings
Sep. 2010  Crime in Latin America
Jul. 16, 2010  Gangs in the U.S.
Jul. 17, 2009  Examining Forensics
Apr. 17, 2009  Wrongful Convictions Updated
Feb. 08, 2008  Fighting Crime
Oct. 11, 2002  Corporate Crime
Apr. 04, 1997  Declining Crime Rates
Dec. 10, 1982  Arson: America's Most Costly Crime
May 07, 1982  Helping Victims of Crime
Mar. 13, 1981  Violent Crime's Return to Prominence
Jul. 15, 1977  Crime Reduction: Reality or Illusion
Jan. 19, 1972  Crime of Rape
Jan. 22, 1969  Street Crime in America
Jan. 17, 1968  Burglary Prevention
Sep. 22, 1965  Compensation for Victims of Crime
Feb. 17, 1965  Criminal Justice and Crime Control
Oct. 18, 1961  Control of City Crime
Jun. 20, 1929  Crime and the Courts
Civil Rights Movement
Congress Actions
Conservatism and Liberalism
Crime and Law Enforcement
Criminal Law Procedure and Due Process
Elementary and Secondary Education
Federal Courts
General Social Trends
Gun Control
Internet and Social Media
Legal Professions and Resources
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Print Media
Protest Movements
Sentencing and Corrections
Supreme Court History and Decisions
Violence and the Family