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Trump White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany inadvertently slammed her own former administration as she tweeted about the rise in murders last year, claiming that it was President Joe Biden’s fault – despite Donald Trump being in charge at the time.
“The US murder rate under Joe Biden...” Ms McEnany wrote in the now-deleted tweet along with a graph from The New York Times showing the spike in murders during 2020. Mr Biden became president on 20 January, 2021.
The FBI’s yearly summary – The Uniform Crime Report – has revealed that the number of murders rose by 29 per cent in 2020, more than twice as large as the previous largest one-year spike – 12.7 per cent in 1968. But the national rate of murders measured per 100,000 people is still about one-third below what it was in the early 1990s.
Analysis of the numbers, which will be officially released on Monday, shows that the spike of murders during the summer of 2020 was not as large as the rise during the same period this year.
The previous largest rise in the total number of killings, 1,938, came in 1990. The figures from the FBI show that almost 5,000 more murders were committed in 2020 compared to 2019. A total of 21,500 people were murdered last year, a figure still below the early 1990s.
What do you even say here? This covers the period when she was the spokesman for Donald Trump, who was president last year. pic.twitter.com/i7goYTL439
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 23, 2021
The New York Times reported that analysts have noted several possible factors in the rise of murders, such as issues stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, a worsening relationship between the public and police officers following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May, 2020, police stepping back as a result of the pushback, and an increased number of people carrying guns.
The number of New York City police officers fell by more than 2,500 between 2019 and 2020.
Around 77 per cent – the highest share ever – of the murders reported in 2020 were the result of gun violence. Ten years ago, that number was 67 per cent.
In cities with more than 250,000 people that provided full data, murders rose by 35 per cent. In cities with between 100,000 and 250,000 residents, the number of killings spiked by over 40 per cent. In cities with fewer than 25,000 people, murder rose by around 25 per cent.
In March, the FBI said that murders had risen by at least 20 per cent all over the country. In the Midwest, the figures rose by 30 per cent. Murders had increased by at least 20 per cent in counties won by both President Joe Biden as well as those won by former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
For the 32nd year in a row, Louisiana had the highest rate of murders.
Murders were up at the start of 2020, but spiked in June and remained high for the rest of last year.
Violent crime also increased last year, by about five per cent, but overall, crime fell between four and five per cent in 2020 – the 18th year in a row in which the overall crime rate declined.
Data from 87 cities shows that the number of murders has risen by 9.9 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020, a much smaller increase than the previous year, The New York Times reported. But 2021 has less available data to analyse at this time.