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New data from AH Datalytics shows “sharp and broad decline” in murder rates for 2023. In a recent article published in The Atlantic, Jeff Asher (pictured), a crime analyst based in New Orleans and co-founder of AH Datalytics, writes that the decline in murder rates across the United States is “one of the largest annual percent changes in murder ever recorded.”  

According to AH Datalytics, murder rates decreased by 12 percent in more than 90 cities that have released data for 2023. In Los Angeles, Houston, and Philadelphia, murder has dropped to more than 20 percent. Additionally, the data shows that murder has decreased by 30 percent or more in cities located in the southern and midwestern regions including, but not limited to, Baton Rouge, LA; Tampa, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Jackson, Mississippi; Atlanta, Georgia; Little Rock, Arkansas; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Click here for sources).

In recent months, some elected officials or those running for political office have called for use of the death penalty to address a perceived rise in violent crime.  But studies, including Stephen Oliphant’s study on the death penalty’s effect on homicide rates, have reported “no evidence of a deterrent effect attributable to death penalty statutes.” 

Jerry Ratcliffe, a criminal-justice professor at Temple University in Philadelphia offered a probable explanation for the decline in murder rates by stating, “It is possible that police departments have returned to some of the proactive work that they curtailed during the COVID pandemic and after George Floyd, activities that may be inhibiting some gun violence.” Ratcliffe also suggested that the trend could be caused by the end of the emergency phase of the coronavirus pandemic. “With COVID restrictions being lifted and a return to some degree of normalcy, the traditional constraints that occurred within society affecting the routine activities of people have returned,” said Ratcliffe. 

Sources

Jeff Asher, The Murder Rate Is Suddenly Falling, The Atlantic, June 52023

Richard Luscombe, Sharp and broad decline in US mur­der rate, research shows, The Guardian, June 62023

Adam Gabbatt, Stark Warning over Republicans’ dehu­man­iz­ing’ rhetoric on crime, The Guardian, May 142023

View AH Datalytics research here