The number of violent crimes has soared across the United States this year and is set to return to pre-pandemic levels, despite a drop in homicides, a new survey shows.
Overall, violent crime increased by just over 4 percent in 2022 when compared to the same time period in 2021, according to MCCA figures.
MCCA is an organization of police executives and represents the biggest cities in the United States and Canada. The report surveyed over 70 major U.S. law enforcement agencies.
The report also found that robberies rose to 60,174 in the first six months of this year, compared to 53,212 in 2021, marking an almost 12 percent increase, while aggravated assaults rose to 156,735 from 152,760 in 2021, marking a 2.5 percent increase.
Despite a surge in violent crimes, the number of homicides and rapes saw a slight decline, according to the survey. A total of 4,511 homicides were reported in the first half of 2022 compared to 4,624 in the first six months of 2021; a 2 percent decrease.
Rape also declined, dropping to 15,541 in the first six months of this year compared to 16,371, marking a 5 percent decrease.
However, the decline in homicides was not seen everywhere across the country, with Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, New Orleans, and Phoenix all among those cities that have seen a spike in homicides so far this year.
The number of rapes was also up in Chicago, Columbus, Fort Worth, Miami, and New York, among others.
A separate survey of nine law-enforcement agencies in Canada found that homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault were all on the rise this year too, with sexual assaults up 4,825 from 4,089 in 2021 and homicides up to 136 versus 118 in 2021.
'Shocking Numbers'"Compared to 2019 midyear figures, MCCA member cities have experienced a 50 percent increase in homicides and a roughly 36 percent increase in aggravated assaults. These shocking numbers demonstrate how the sustained increase in violent crime has disproportionately impacted major urban areas," MCCA said in a press release (pdf).
"While MCCA member agencies continue to develop new and innovative strategies to address rising violent crime, there is a distinct need to have a robust conversation regarding the driving factors and systematic failures that have contributed to the current state of affairs," the association added.
The survey comes following a string of mass shootings in the United States this year, including at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 19 children and two adults dead.
The shootings prompted the Biden administration to tighten gun control laws in an effort to prevent dangerous people from accessing firearms. However, Republicans have argued that such measures are impinging on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
Some experts have blamed the strict COVID-19 restrictions for a surge in violence along with growing anti-police sentiment, but many law enforcement agencies across the United States have also experienced a wave of staff shortages which they say has further exacerbated the situation.