The number of homicides has risen significantly in most major cities in the United States this year. One reason for this could be the corona pandemic.
WASHINGTON taz | In the early hours of June 29, four-year-old LeGend Taliferro was sleeping in his bed. Shots came out of nowhere. The boy was hit and died shortly afterwards in the hospital from the consequences of the gunshot wound.
“Last night a family put their four-year-old child to bed for the last time,” said Kansas City chief of police Rick Smith after the violence. “This should never happen in our city. This tragic death should encourage everyone in our community to act. ”
At just four years old, Taliferro is the youngest murder victim in Kansas City so far this year. The city in the US state of Missouri is on the best way to set a new negative record. The city counted over 100 homicides in the first six months of the year, 40 percent more than in the same period in 2019.
But Kansas City is not an isolated case in the United States. The number of shootings and acts of violence is also increasing in Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans and Washington. Children and adolescents can also be found among the victims.
Chicago becomes a bloody city
In Brooklyn, New York, a year-old boy died in his stroller just over a week ago. Unknown perpetrators opened fire on a group of people who had met near a playground for barbecues without warning.
A research of the New York Times recently showed that a number of US cities are facing increasing homicide rates. The newspaper analyzed 25 cities with at least 250,000 inhabitants. The result is an increase of 16.1 percent across all cities examined. The number of homicides only decreased in five of the 25 cities.
“From the windy city [„Windy City“, der Spitzname von Chicago] will be the bloody city, “Pastor Michael L. Pfleger told the New York Times after a weekend in Chicago with many dead and wounded. “I have never experienced despair, hopelessness and anger on such a scale.”
More than 330 people were murdered in the third largest city in the United States in the first half of the year. That is almost twice as many as in New York (176 homicides). Even though Chicago’s population is only about a third of that of New York.
What is behind this worrying development? First of all, it should be noted that crime rates always increase somewhat in the summer months. Various studies have shown this. But this summer is different: there are the lockdown measures of the corona pandemic with their economic and social impact. And they also change crime statistics.
Nobody knows the reasons for violence
According to a recently published study, lockdown easing not only means a slow return to old normality, but also offers opportunities for criminals and violent offenders. Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and co-author of the study, told CNN that there is clear evidence that the increasing number of violent acts is partly related to the reopening of restaurants and shops.
Another factor could be the loss of trust in state institutions such as the police, especially after George Floyd’s violent death by a police officer in Minneapolis. The ongoing protests against racism and police brutality could also lead to more violence. In 2015 and 2016, the homicide rate increased in the U.S. when many Americans took to the streets, the study said.
“The truth is we don’t know,” said Phillip Atiba Goff, general manager for the Center for Policing Equity, in an interview with the New York Times.
For US President Donald Trump, on the other hand, it is clear who is to blame for the increase in violence – for him it is the democratic mayors and governors who are not tough enough, and their calls for cuts in police funding. This has resulted in “an explosion of shootings, manslaughter, murder and horrific violent crimes,” Trump said on Wednesday. “This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end. “