America had witnessed a nearly 30 percent increase in murders in 2020, the largest one-year rise since the beginning of the record-keeping in 1960. While 2021 also had a surge in homicides, the increase was somehow slower yet still alarming.
The possible interpretations for such years marred by killings can be many, of which the following stand out.
COVID Killed People Beyond Imaginative Means
The surging COVID pandemic in both the previous years is the apparent reason for the increasing murders, as unemployment rose to a record-breaking level since the Great Depression.
Amid all of this chaos, with more people locking down to their homes, enough studies have already established that this phase increased clinical depression for many Americans.
This can also be found from the fact that domestic violence increased in this time, with wealth gaps increasing to unprecedented levels.
Criminologists believe that stressors like depression, unemployment, and uncertainty are one of the primary reasons for increasing murders in America in recent years.
Many other studies have already concluded that stress and the lack of social support, two phenomena prevalent during the pandemic, always contribute to increasing homicides.
Gun Violence: An Everlasting Socially Disturbing Phenomenon
While the rise of systematic unemployment was imminent and inevitable with the surge of the pandemic, gun violence was something avoidable but continued to disturb the peace of the country since the onset of the pandemic.
Sales of firearms increased to three million between March and June 2020 and started going up again in the aftermath of the attack on Capitol Hill.
Irrespective of the fact that certain ideologies continued defending guns rights and equated them with the rights of self-defense, many studies have found that the number of guns is directly proportional to the shootings in any society.
The role of guns in the increasing murders can also be analyzed from the overall crime numbers, as many crimes, including robbery and rapes, decreased, but murders have increased since the pandemic began.
More than 77 percent of all murders in 2021 had a gun involved in them.
Police Backed Off from Their Jobs
Changing police dynamics have also affected the increasing lawlessness in society. Since the murder of George Floyd, the calls for the rising scrutiny of the police have been in the limelight.
Reportedly, many police officers are backing down from their duties and reluctant to take risks that could lead them to legal trouble. This enhances the perpetuation of the criminal ideology.
This is not the first that the rising scrutiny of police has made them disown their responsibilities, followed by the increase in criminal activities.
In 2014, for instance, after the killing of Micheal Brown, the police started not to do their jobs willfully and kicked off the so-called “Ferguson Effect,” which impacted the societies afterward.
Witnesses Decreased in Pandemic, Murders Increased
But the Ferguson effect is a controversial phenomenon, for which the police are blamed for not understanding their job responsibility.
An alternate explanation to this theory stems from the idea that the number of witnesses decreased during the COVID epidemic, which helped murderers do the crime without being noticed.
There is also an ongoing notion that private guards and the general public act as a deterrent to murder, and criminals are not likely to go the violent route in front of the public.
However, when everyone was in their homes and the public gatherings were reduced, this provided a playing field to criminals, who ultimately went down the dangerous route.
The pandemic also unraveled the general social anomie, which is considered to be one of the primary reasons for the rising crime numbers.
This theory is defended by other anti-social behaviors, which also increased in the wake of the pandemic.
Be it the rash driving, disruptive conduct in schools, or aggressive behaviors of people in airplanes, every anti-social behavior increased, and so did the murders.