Many U.S. cities now face a surge in murder rates after years of decline. In Milwaukee, for instance, homicides jumped from 86 cases in 2014 to 104 cases in 2015, and the year is not over yet.
Additionally, over 30 U.S. cities have reported increased rates of violence including Washington D.C., New Orleans, St. Louis, and Baltimore. In Washington, 73 people were murdered last year, while this year the figure is 105 and counting.
Experts, however, cannot say why the violent crime rates are surging across the country. Some analysts think that police officers have become softer amid national controversy over police violence and criminals became more aggressive.
Other experts put the blame on poverty, especially in minority communities in which unemployed young men think they have no other option than enroll in a gang and take up the drug traffic business.
Milwaukee’s police chief Edward A. Flynn explained that in a gang preserving one’s status and honor may be a matter of life and death. Plus, criminals see it more fit to get caught with a gun than without.
Tamiko Holmes from Milwaukee lost both her children in less than eight months. Her 20-year-old daughter was gunned down during a robbery at a birthday party, while her 19-year-old son was found dead six months later in his car with a bullet in his head. Police officers are still investigating the case.
What’s more, one of her teenage daughters was shot in a shooting just before her decision of moving from the city with her family. She recalls that violence was not that high in her teenage days.
“What’s changed is the streets and the laws and the parents. It’s become a mess and a struggle,”
On the other hand, experts recall that things were much worse in the 1980s and early 1990s. Plus a few cities including Los Angeles and Cincinnati didn’t experience an uptick in crime this year.
But the reports related to about 35 cities have prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to try and solve murder rates in a meeting this month. Darrel W. Stephens, a former police chief in Charlotte, believes that the figures are worrisome enough to take measures.
For instance, last year, New York and Chicago had some of the lowest homicide rates in a decade. But in 2015, those rates soared.
While in NYC the rates jumped 9 percent, in Chicago rates skyrocketed 20 percent in less than a year. Some criminalists think that the trend may be linked to increased gun violence since especially the young resort to gun violence to settle their disputes, including those occurring on their social media accounts.
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