The FBI has released its annual report for 2021 on national crime. It shows that murders have slightly increased over 2020’s historical numbers. This data is just one month before midterm elections and comes as voters state that crime is a top concern as they head to polls.
On Wednesday, the FBI released its annual crime statistics for 2021. It estimated that murders rose slightly last year in comparison to 2020’s historically bloody years.
As the pandemic ravaged society in unprecedented ways, murders rose by almost 30% in 2020. During that summer, protests and riots calling for the defunding of police erupted. This was the highest single-year increase of killings since the agency started tracking crimes.
The murder trend continued into 2021. FBI data shows that murders rose from 22,000 in 2020, to an estimated 22,900 by 2021. This is a 4.3% increase.
Voters fear that crime will be a major issue ahead of Election Day, Nov. 8.
According to polls, the majority of Americans view violent crime as a problem before Election Day. This includes a Politico-Morning Consult poll this week and similar Gallup findings last month. Voters are often concerned about the economy and inflation as well as crime.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s managing editor, a campaign- and elections newsletter from University of Virginia Center for Politics, said that the FBI report will not directly impact the campaigns, but that Republicans have been hammering criminality on the campaign trail.
According to FBI data, violent crime fell by 1% between 2020 and 2020. There were 1,326,600 reports for 2020 and 1,313,200 for last year. Robberies also fell 8.9% in 2021, compared to the previous year.
The report also highlighted sharp increases in violent crime among certain groups. Data shows that there was an approximately 26% increase in violent crime victims between 50 and 59 years from 2020 to 2021.
However, the FBI data for this year is complicated by the fact that it’s based upon estimates. This was due to the agency switching over to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIRS), which provides a more detailed view on crimes, but cannot show a complete report.
Nearly 40% of all police departments across the nation did not provide full data sets to the new data collection method, including large departments in major cities like New York City or Los Angeles. Reuters reported that 9700 law enforcement agencies failed to submit full reports to FBI by March 2022 deadline. The FBI had previously been able to obtain data from over 95% of law enforcement agencies before the change to the new method.