MINNESOTA – An increase in homicides in Minnesota contributed to a staggering nationwide spike in 2020, marking the biggest year-over-year increase in more than a century, according to new federal data.
The National Center for Health Statistics recently released its preliminary quarterly estimates detailing the evolution of the homicide rate from 2019 to 2020. While the overall increase was not unexpected – the FBI Uniform Crime Report had documented a similar increase days earlier – federal analysts still called the spike “remarkable.”
“We’re usually talking about relatively small increases in mortality or small decreases in mortality. We don’t normally see these big jumps,” said Robert Anderson, head of the mortality statistics branch of the NCHS, in an interview with the agency. “As we calculate the official mortality statistics for 2020, we’re going to have a lot more work than we normally have to describe what’s going on.”
In Minnesota, the homicide rate fell from 2.7 per 100,000 people in 2019 to 3.5 in 2020.
The last three months have been the deadliest. The last quarter of 2020 saw a homicide rate of 4.9.
Preliminary estimates are based on complete death records received and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
National estimates include deaths that occurred only in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Estimates are calculated using records for most types of homicide, some of which may not necessarily equate to murder. The National Center for Health Statistics defines homicide as death resulting from injury inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill. If a death is classified as homicide, it does not necessarily mean that the murder was illegal.
Murder, on the other hand, is by definition illegal, which distinguishes it from homicide.
The recently released provisional estimates do not distinguish between homicides and murders.
The previous year-over-year peak was a 20 percent increase from 2000 to 2001, mainly due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in which nearly 3,000 people were killed.
While the homicide rate in 2020 was probably the largest percentage increase in history, the number of homicides per 100,000 population has been higher in previous years.
“If you go back to the early 1980s and actually the 1970s, you had rates over 10 per 100,000, so at that time you had a higher homicide rate,” Anderson said. “Not the big increases or the big decreases at the time, but the overall level was much higher.”
The new data for 2020 also shows a big difference in homicide rates based on geography.
The states with the highest homicide rates were Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Maryland. The District of Columbia had a higher homicide rate than any state.
The states with the largest rate increases in 2020 were Montana, South Dakota, Delaware and Kentucky, while only two states, Alaska and Maine, saw a definitive drop in homicide rates. .
It is not known at this stage what role the pandemic may have played in the outbreak of homicides; However, a psychiatrist told US News & World Report he believes fears and blockages related to COVID-19 have played a key role.
“This volatile combination of emotional, financial and physical stress, combined with substance use and the too rapid availability of handguns in our society, which increases the likelihood of gun deaths associated with intimate partner violence,” said said Dr Timothy Sullivan. , president of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Staten Island University Hospital, told US News.
This, Sullivan said, “could naturally lead to an increase in the homicide rate.”